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Ruins of Elysium – Ampitrite: Ancient Sanctuary in the Sea

Ruins of Elysium
Ampitrite: Ancient Sanctuary in the Sea
by Mark Machlay at 19 January 2021, 7:11 AM

When you think of Symphonic Metal, most people imagine a band playing with an orchestra, bombastic compositions and a specifically female singer. Bucking trends, the Brazilian/Italian Epic Symphonic Metal band RUINS OF ELYSIUM are fronted by a tenor, male, opera singer, Drake Chrisdensen. It’s striking, but the band also utilizes several female guest vocalist with their new album “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary of the Sea” to help round out their sound this time around. Born in 2013 by the Norwegian tenor Chrisdensen, guitarist and bassist Vencenzo Avallone, and drummer/synth player Icaro Ravelo the band released their first EP “Prince” in 2014 with lyrical content borrowed from video games such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Two years later, they followed it up with “Daphne”, focusing on more real world social issues such as homophobia and female empowerment, released on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia. Moving more into metaphysical astrology and witchcraft, “Seeds of Chaos and Serenity” followed shortly after in 2017. This album once again focused on social issues such as female empowerment as well as LGBT empowerment.

The band took a bit more time with their most recent third album but the wait is over as the full-length “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary of the Sea” was released on January 15, 2021. Recording was started as soon as their previous album was released in 2017 and intends to be a bit of whirlwind of styles in 12 bombastic songs flowing from folk metal – including elements of Celtic, Scandinavian. Brazilian and African cultures – to more ethnic Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Chinese styles as well as incorporating instruments from each given culture. It’s meant to be a high seas adventure on the open ocean exploring the stars, astrology, and mysticism. Also, following in the tradition of their previous releases, there is a heavy focus on social issues, celebrating LGBTQ and feminine icons, pagan sea goddesses and especially the Greek goddess of the ocean, Amphitrite. To aid the album its in female-centric focus, the album features the guest female voices such as Melissa Ferlaak of PLAGUE OF STARS, Foxx Salema, and Rayssa Monroy.

So what do you get when you throw a bunch of musical styles into a blender when it seems like you have everything but the kitchen sink? It’s a mish-mash of different styles and even after 3 albums, I still don’t feel like RUINS OF ELYSIUM knows what it wants to be. It’s clear that the main focus is on symphonic metal, but “Amphitrite” is filed with so much it seemed overstuffed, even considering the runtime of the album is a hefty 113 minutes. It’s also very clear why this was an independent release because while whoever did the mix did an admirable job with so many elements, its nowhere near professional quality. Chrisdensen has an admirable range but every vocal line sounds so dry and unprocessed, yet right at the front of the mix. During faster sections, rhythmically and sonically everything seems to be fighting with each other, it’s as if no one decided to quantize elements to the beat. It sounds like all the instruments are tripping over each other downstairs. This brings me to the drums. Holy moly! If these aren’t programmed drums I’d be really surprised because that snare sample, when repeated over and over again, sounds horrible! I give them points for originality, an ambitious concept and decent musicianship, but they need to trim a lot of the sonic fat and get a producer to really elevate their work. For most symphonic metal fans, I would steer clear of this but if you’re at all curious to hear what pushing the boundaries of what “progressive” music can sound like, maybe you’ll enjoy this.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 4
Production: 4

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Alexiel – An Epic Lovestory
2. Queen of the Seven Seas
3. Belladonna
4. Leviathan
5. Oceanic Operetta
6. Atlas
7. Book of Seals
8. Amphitrite
9. Okami: Mother of the Sun
10. The Ocean is Yemanja’s
11. Cathedral of Cascades
12. Canzone Del Mare (Cancao Do Mar)
Lineup:
Vincenzo Avallone – Guitars & Bass
Drake Chrisdensen – Vocals
Icaro Ravelo – Drums & Synths
Record Label: Independent
     


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