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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Hopes Die Last – Trust No One

There has been quite a lot of hype building over Italian post hardcore metal band Hopes Die Last  since their formation in 2004, especially after their debut album Six Years Home of 2009, though to be fair even with their previous couple of EP’s Aim For Tomorrow (2005) and Your Face Down Now (2007) they were gathering strong interest and responses. With their second album Trust No One due for release via Standby Records on February 14th the buzz surrounding them has intensified but are they worthy and is the new album as staggering as many are claiming?

The simple answer is pretty much so, Trust No One is outstanding. To say the band is the future of post hardcore or metal is stretching things but as a release the album is a vibrant, irrepressible and deeply satisfying release. Hope Die Last have created a release that is relentless, with crushing riffs, senses scorching melodies, and high octane energy driving its heart, it excites and impresses. The album also comes with a defined intent to explore and diversity within itself and individual tracks which though it is not always completely successful is a highly commendable direction giving intrigue and unpredictability to each song.

The album as a whole is not groundbreaking but it is certainly is more adventurous and unique in thought than most other post hardcore releases. Trust No One offers something different and surprising throughout. At times these intentions work better than at other moments but there is never a song that one thinks ‘heard that before’ or easily loses focus within. From the opening explosion that is ‘Never Trust The Hazel Eyed’ to the imaginative if less successful closer ‘Keep Your Hands Off’ the album rumbles and swaggers with confidence and eagerness. The opening track is aggressive and smoothly melodic, the band finding the perfect blend allowing both avenues to expand seamlessly alongside each other. Post hardcore, metal, industrial and elements of melodic hardcore rage within its skin and with the excellent vocals of Daniele Tofan backed equally by those of bassist Marco “Becko” Calanca, their combination of  gut bursting ferociousness and a smoothly flowing clean attack impressive, the song is impossible to deny or avoid getting swept up in its energy.

The harsher ‘Sidney Shown’ and brutal power of ‘Unleash Hell’ raise the intensity and quality further, the latter of the two a brutal beast that pummels with agonistic riffs spewing from the of guitars Marco Mantovani and Luigi Magliocca and gladiatorial rhythms from drummer Ivan Panella. At times the track thrusts some electro inspired bestiality as found in the likes of The Browning into the fray without ever decreasing the bludgeoning of the ear, even the clean vocals cannot diminish the intensity.

As mentioned Hopes Die Last admirably bring diversity to each track to make the album constantly intriguing within the sweltering heat from its blistering tracks. ‘Life After Me Life After You’ offers a softer passion fuelled touch to the power whilst ‘Bill’s Got Only A Pair Of Queens’ carries distinct harmonies that dazzle over the insurgent riffs and directness beneath, and there is also the piano led ballad ‘The Same Old Fears’ which brings a respite to the aggression, all showing the thought and creativity from the band to offer something different.

Rivalling ‘Never Trust The Hazel Eyed’ and ‘Unleash Hell’ for best track is ‘Air Raid Siren’. The song is a caustic violation of the senses, its incessant riffs and acidic guitars alongside a great moody bassline wonderfully numbs the ear. The clean vocals and scorched melodies are as damaging as the assaultive barrage of power. It is a gem and these three tracks alone make the album worth a visit but Trust No One has much more to offer and all impressive. Even the cover of the Katy Perry song ‘Fireworks’ is more than agreeable.

Trust No One is an excellent release and brings a fresh breath to post hardcore. Hopes Die Last  has not opened up new avenues for the genre but has given it food for thought. The album may not hit deep enough to end up on album of the year lists come December but it will certainly make the months up to a decision thoroughly enjoyable and energetic with constant revisits.

https://www.facebook.com/hopesdielastofficial

RingMaster 02/02/2012

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