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Napalm Records make it ever so easy for journalists with a proclivity to label all music they listen too. Elis are 'Gothic Metal' apparently. Okay, let's strip that down. Perhaps Elis want to be called Goth Metal, as I understand they always have been, but such a label just serves to reinforce the 21st century misconception of this seemingly oversaturated subgenre. A metal band who dress in black with female vocals...oh, of course, it must be Goth Metal. I would actually argue not. It's just metal with a female vocalist. Mislabelling at work again. Elis do have a 'beauty and the beast' dual vocal approach (as pioneered by Theatre of Tragedy) with the smooth tones of Sandra Schleret offset against the death growls of bassist Tom Saxer. However, beyond this, the music on 'Catharsis' has little else to warrant the Goth Metal tag. Then again, so many other bands labelled as such also have little affinity with Goth Metal's original foundations so I criticise Elis not, rather inane labelling. Right, rant over, onto the music on what is Elis' fourth album to date. The first to feature Sandra Schleret following the untimely death of original vocalist Sabine DŁnser at just 29 years old, 'Catharis' is actually rather good - skilfully composed metal tunes abound that are adorned with atmospheric keyboards. Schleret delivers a powerful vocal performance on all eleven cuts while there's also a scattering of innovative lead guitar work - particularly the solo spot three quarters into 'Des Lebens Traum - Des Traumes Leben'. They even throw in a metalled-up cover of Jennifer Rush's 'I Come Undone' which works surprisingly well in its heavier form. Overall, nothing groundbreakingly original here, although 'Catharsis' is a solid effort that should have wide appeal within the metal scene.
Napalm Records
Review by Mark Holmes
30th Nov 2009
1) Core of Life
2) Twinkling Shadow
3) Warrior's Tale
4) Des Lebens Traum - Des Traumes Leben
5) I Come Undone
6) Firefly
7) Morning Star
8) Das Kleine Ungeheuer
9) Mother's Fire
10) Rainbow
11) The Dark Bridge
"...skilfully composed metal tunes abound that are adorned with atmospheric keyboards."