The Elijah: I Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created

Whether the expansive and impressive sounds of UK band The Elijah find a welcome in the heart or not one cannot help but be stunned by the expansive and creative might the quintet possess.  It is safe to say they will not be a band for everyone but they certainly are not one you can ignore or forget. I Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created is their debut album which at times is as equally challenging as it is deeply enveloping and emotively inciteful. It leaves one rich in thought and grasping for support before its magnetic beauty and intrusive and destructive veins. Arguably not an album to see off or dispel any black shadows within, in fact one wonders if it should come with a health warning for such dark times, it clasps the senses with epic weaves of compulsive ambience and striking textures. There is a haunting breath permeating every note to ignite emotions and thoughts incessantly whilst the music wraps itself around the ear with sheer quality and imagination veined with a kind of self harming intensity.

The Elijah according to the promo sheet with the album was “determined to make a record that sounds like no other”. The North Shropshire band certainly achieved that and though you could cite bands which have taken a similar premise as The Elijah it is hard to bring to mind many as dramatically successful and as startlingly powerful. The past year has seen the band leaving audiences breathless as they shared stages with the likes of Hope Dies Last, Matyr Defiled, Liferuiner, and The Bled and the band is on the back of the album, destined to again ahead as the five piece head out on tour with As Cities Burn in July and Hawthorne Heights in September and October.

Removing themselves to an abandoned mansion in the Shropshire countryside that feeling of isolation is felt throughout the ten tracks on I Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created. There is also inspired rightly or wrongly, thoughts and emotions borne from despair and desperation as the tracks play like a soundtrack to enflamed shadowed passions to wonderfully encroach either tenderly or with a fuller intensity on the heart.  The songs from the opening In Misery through to the wrenching closer I Created are a sonically soaked emotional wave upon wave of sound, all carefully and diversely  shaped and flavoured but with an overall seamless presence. Like the way feelings and thoughts evolve through varied states within a deflated or elated heart the songs shift and expand within one album long emotive consumption.

The likes of I Loved, In Fear, and In Death combine inner peace and ignited harsher shadows wonderfully and though most songs stem initially from the quiet into dangerous and incendiary states they are brought with distinctly varied and gloriously imagined invention. The smooth vocals of Mike McGough are stunning throughout, the singer/guitarist marking himself as one very accomplished and expressive vocalist. Combining with him and bringing the corruptive element of the sound is Dan Tomley, his disruptively harsh delivery fuelling the dark and near violent shades of the album. From personal preference his delivery at times threatens to permanently distract from and spoil the beauty in the songs to leave one longing for a different or better control on his part, though saying that he more than adds to the anguish and distressed emotions during songs perfectly.

The highlights of the release come in the shape of the simply irresistible and majestic instrumental In Regret where the pure class and beauty of the band in play and composition is at its height and the unnerving emotional dissection which is I Hated. Both have a resonance and atmosphere which not only erupts the senses and mind into sparse thoughts but linger to continue inciting ideas and feelings.

We cannot say I Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created is one of our favourite releases so far this year but it is definitely one of the most skilful and imaginative let alone provocative to treat the ear. The Elijah from this impressive opening is a band destined for global appreciation and acclaim. This album might not be the right key but it will happen.

RingMaster 26/06/2012

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