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Eleine - All Shall Burn Award winner

Eleine
All Shall Burn
by Kira Schlechter at 23 November 2019, 11:03 PM

EPs are an interesting phenomenon – call them a snack that tides fans over between full-length releases. Such is “All Shall Burn,” the latest quickie from the symphonic metal (“with an oriental touch”) band ELEINE. The Swedes released their self-titled debut in 2015. They left Cardiac Records in 2016 and singer Madeleine and singer-guitarist Rikard formed their own label the following year (they work with Black Lodge Records). Last year, they released “Until the End,” an album that hit number one on the Swedish album charts.

The palate-cleanser that is “All Shall Burn” contains two new songs, a cover, and symphonic versions of one older song and the new title track. The opener, “Enemies,” is dark, dramatic, and multi-layered, full of choirs of backing vocals and strings and powered by blistering double-kick drums. Madeleine’s voice is delicate but with a nice rasping snarl (not operatic, just a fine, well-trained soprano), and Rikard adds some punchy gutturals on the chorus. The strings add texture to a bridge based on layers and layers of guitar. It has plenty of excitement and fire, with a theme that’s an upraised fist of defiance (“My strength it grows inside/The truth always survives”). All the songs, in fact, have a similar theme, actually – not sure exactly what we’re defying, but we’re going to defy it, by golly.

In the title track, ELEINE, like all these bands, shows the debt they owe to NIGHTWISH. Like many of the Finns’ tracks, this one too is built on a great, ponderous, thumping, string-laden riff and a memorable, participatory chorus. Rikard uses his lovely theatrical tenor in one verse and his growl most sinisterly on the chorus, while the pre-chorus is all Madeleine, glorious and soaring. “Mein Herz Brennt” (“My Heart Burns”) is a dead-on faithful cover of the 2001 RAMMSTEIN song in the original German and it’s a fascinating choice. Beginning with a mournful cello, it’s a really terrific exploration of Rikard’s impressive range and ability to assume characters. He half-whispers, half-croons, half-purrs the lyrics at first and sings them most slickly later on, backed by a relentless groove. Madeleine gets a turn here too, but he might be their real secret weapon.

“Hell Moon (We Shall Never Die)” was previously released as a single in 2017 and finds a home here as a symphonic take. The two singers hold their own most nicely against the swoops and swells of the orchestra, waxing defiant again all the way. “All Shall Burn,” the symphonic take, is a bit superfluous, since the electric version is plenty fine and plenty orchestral (and fits Rikard’s growl far better, of course). Since ELEINE seems to be pretty productive, it might not be long til the next full meal after this satisfying tidbit.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enemies
2. All Shall Burn
3. Mein Herz Brennt
4. Hell Moon (We Shall Never Die) (Symphonic Version)
5. All Shall Burn (Symphonic Version)
Lineup:
Madeleine “Eleine” Lijestam — Vocals
Rikard Ekberg — Guitar, Vocals
Ludwig Dante — Guitar
Jesper Sunnhagen — Drums
Anton Helgesson — Bass
Record Label: Black Lodge Records
     


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Edited 08 December 2019
 

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