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Elfika - Secretum Secretorum

Elfika
Secretum Secretorum
by Emily Schneider at 03 March 2020, 2:39 PM

Debut albums. Some bands start out safe or ensure it's something solid and enjoyable enough. Then there's other bands who come out swinging, holding nothing back for their first album. ELFIKA'S stellar debut “Secretum Sectorum” is most certainly the latter. The French band initially formed in 2012 with just Manu but he soon recruited the rest of the members and they released their demo album in 2015. Five years later, their first full length has arrived and it's a wild ride. They label themselves as Symphonic Melodic Metal, although they certainly have some Progressive and Neo-Classical elements weaved into the mix. Their list of influences include NIGHTWISH, EPICA, and SYMPHONY X which are all favorite bands of mine so my hopes were high for this album.  They truly fulfilled my high hopes by not only mentioning these bands, but also by actually showing these influences in their music… starting with the first song!

The Chamber of Secrets” has a very SYMPHONY X Neo-Classical feel. The riffs most certainly gave me that impression and I was definitely hooked right away. “So Human”  has a powerful message about humanity destroying the Earth to which we belong to; they relayed the message well with some intense dramatic melodies and some chilling layered vocals and choirs weaved in. It reminded me a lot of “Design Your Universe”-era EPICA. “Angel” has a really cool, almost Speed Metal intro with dueling guitars. This trend continues off and on through the track and I have no complaints against that. The bridge in this song is so cool with how there's just the drums tapping and her voice as well. “The Other” is a massive theatrical track. There's a lot of buildup instrumentally as the emotions of the song grow more urgent, then the song takes off with some more tasty Neo-Classical soloing before the bridge. I really loved this song!

Broken Wings” has some gorgeous moments on the keys, including some synthy bits. It was also in this song that I concluded Laure has a truly unique voice. I can't quite name any one singer she sounds like, which is a rare treat as an avid music listener. “Dark Virgin” is the epic track for the album, clocking at nearly 13 minutes. There are so many cool little interludes and intricate details, plus the number of different melodies and key changes makes this quite the audible journey. Usually, the long track in the final one, but in this one's case, there's “Inferno” left to complete the story. This closing track has a super catchy chorus and some cool orchestration. The absolutely stellar guitar solo alone makes this track more than worthy to finish off the album.

Overall, this album is pretty damn cool. The guitarist is a beast on those strings, it was definitely the stand out instrumental part for me. I'm a sucker for Neo-Classical style playing and Anthony does it quite well. The keys and orchestration are beautiful and, at times, pretty emotional too. The vocals were also stellar, Laure's voice is something unusual and she has a massive vocal range which I always find impressive. I also really liked the lyrics, they told quite a story and the emotion needed to tell it shone brightly. I hope this album grabs the attention of Symphonic Metal fans because it is certainly an interesting one.

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



4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Chamber of Secrets
2. So Human
3. Angel
4. The Other
5. Broken Wings
6. Dark Virgin
7. Inferno
Lineup:
Laure Ali-Khodja -Vocals
Anthony Parker -Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Manu BasseKiller -Bass
D.L. - Keys
Axel Thomas - Drums
Record Label: Valkyrie Rising
     


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Edited 03 February 2023
 

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