ELYSIUM define themselves as a Gothic Folk Symphonic Band. Formed in 2013 in the city of Orvieto, as a trio, this Italian band has expanded to a quintet and is debuting in studio album format with “Labyrinth of Fallen Angels“, after the launch of their first release, the EP “Symphony of a Forest” in 2015. The band fuses elements of different approaches to Symphonic Rock, from those more classic like QUEEN, to more contemporary groups such as WITHIN TEMPTATION.

The album makes use of violin as a classical instrument, but adds a whole programmed orchestra, which provides the songs with an epical and theatrical sound. The dramatic intro of opener “Black Hole” is a clear example of this, with powerful brass and pulsating electronics that end up flowing into melodic and distorted riffs. Daphne Nisi‘s vocals are a powerhouse that confer emotional substance to the whole album, and its power is noticeable from the first moment she enters the scene.

Evanescent” has a dense electronic intro and amusingly enough reminds of the band EVANESCENCE in sound, while “Before the End” makes an excellent use of pizzicato strings to generate tension in the verses, released in the chorus by bowed strings. Both songs have catchy melodies, highlighting pop sensibilities when composing. The band cites direct influences from the world of classical music, naming Vivaldi in particular as one of them. This becomes particularly noticeable in the string patterns in “Fight for All Your Love“, a song in which the influences of Electronica are also marked by the almost danceable rhythm of their choruses. “Siren” also incorporates Classical influences, although in this case Ravel‘s “Bolero” is evoked. The Bolero-esque crescendo proves effective being the most aggressive song on the album, including screams that accompany the heaviness of the guitar.

Piano appears as one of the central instruments in much of the record, even though it is not as present as the violin. The duet with the violin from minute 3:55 onwards on “Turn Around” is one of the most beautiful moments of the album and resonates similarly to another of the band’s influences: ANATHEMA. It also plays a central role in the first half of beautiful closer “Here I Am“. The rest of “Labyrinth of Fallen Angels” is just as fascinating, incorporating well the use of a “programmed orchestra” with actual instruments, although it leaves the intrigue of what this band would be able to do with a “real” orchestra. The production is more than satisfactory although it gets a little noisy in the heaviest moments of the album, leaving the door open to some little improvements.

Marco Monetini‘s bass is ELYSIUM‘s MVP without a doubt, contributing to maintaining a sense of movement and generating tension with its melodic lines throughout the record, but every player here knows exactly what they’re doing. An intriguing release that promises a lot of potential for the future. Keep an eye on ELYSIUM if you like orchestral arrangements and symphonic pomp.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

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