2006 is a year those in and around Elis might prefer to leave behind.
Anyone familiar with the Liechtenstein (note: it’s south of Germany) band is already aware that vocalist Sabine Dunser suffered a cerebral hemorrhage this past summer and died at the too young age of 29. Following this, the band publicly asked the question of whether or not to continue as Elis, and whether or not to release this album at all.
Deciding to continue, and deciding to release Griefshire, I can honestly say it was the right decision. A band is like a family, and while a family mourns the loss of one of their own, they don’t give up on their own lives; one would hope the deceased would have wanted it that way.
And so, Griefshire, Elis’ third release, has seen the light of day. Called “her baby” by Sabine herself, while it is a solid enough album, I do not feel as closely connected to this album as it seems she did.
The band decided on a harder approach this time around, wrapped loosely around a conceptual thread. On Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky, a personal early 2005 favorite, songs were poppier, a bit more melodic — not necessarily sweeter (maybe a little) but perhaps a little more naïve.
And I think that’s what appealed to me. Sure, it was metal, but it was also catchy. “Remember the Promise” has some nice energy and a catchy chorus of Sabine chanting “we can’t stand up!” “Show Me The Way” has potential as does “How Long” with a nice, sweet vibe.
However, much of the record is just a little dry. I think a lot of blame must fall on Alexander Krull, the band’s producer/manager, who mixes the drums so thinly, the bass so nonexistently as to turn me off.
is a decent metal album for those looking for something south of Nightwish
but north of Lacuna Coil
. It’s neither overly bombastic (for the most part), nor does it ever delve into pop-metal pabulum. Still, a part of me wishes I could have enjoyed more this eulogy for its departed singer.