Elysian Blaze - Beneath Silent Faces
Osmose Productions
Depressive Black Metal
7 songs (50:20)
Release year: 2008
Elysian Blaze, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat

A re-release of the Australian one-man unit’s 2003 demo, Beneath Silent Faces is only five years old, but the thinking behind Osmose’s decision here is pretty obvious. Comprising seven tracks of bleakness, this release highlights some very odd-sounding guitars over all, relegating programmed drums and distant screams into the background, and when I say the background, I mean it; you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anything at times beyond a vague backing noise as the guitars form their majestic shapes. As with most Black Metal bands that take a depressive stance, there’s a similarity with Burzum, but for once we have a band that has taken steps away from the Count’s vision; even the most obvious similarity, the drums, here are the very definition of minimalist, repetitive taps and cymbal clashes that help to give the music its hypnotic pull.

What is most obvious about Beneath Silent Faces is the eerie atmosphere. This isn’t music so much as ghostly noises, secretly recorded by some enterprising hunter of the supernatural; what happens in a Cathedral when the people are gone and the gargoyles converse with the organs... It’s what you’d get if you took the rhythm guitars from Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse and based an album around their musical impact alone, minimalist as opposed to the Norwegians’ epic cacophony. Although things might seem to speed up a little on, say, Prophecy Of Misery, when you listen closely you realise that beyond an increase in tempo in the drums, the rest of the music is barely changed, and throughout the album you’ll rarely hear much variation. This either seizes you, or it doesn’t.

Unlike many bands in the genre, however, even if you don’t come out from an Elysian Blaze listening session shaken to the core, you will be subtly affected. As mentioned, there’s an oddness to the guitar riffs here that’s more reminiscent of recent Blut Aus Nord works than traditional Black Metal. Unlike the Frenchmen, however, the guitars here seem deliberate and carefully placed for maximum effect, as opposed to slapped randomly across the palette. Even reverb-heavy interludes such as A Constellation Of Souls have their own bleak misery, and when you’re listening to Depressive Black Metal, what more could you ask? Unfortunately I’m not very familiar with Elysian Blaze’s other works, but if they’re as worthy as this demo then they’re well worth an investigation.

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Killing Songs :
Anvil Chorus, Prophecy Of Misery, The Throned Tongue Of Requiem, Beneath Silent Faces
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Other albums by Elysian Blaze that we have reviewed:
Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Elysian Blaze - Levitating The Carnal reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
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