The Metal Mayan
Elysion - Bring Out Your Dead (Massacre Records)
Author's note: As of this writing, it has been just a couple of days since a terrible train accident happened in Greece. While my biological heritage is Mayan by way of Guatemala, I actually have family in the town of Larissa, not far from where the crash occurred. Indeed, I was a bit concerned that this album's title might hit too close to home right now as the casualties continue to increase.
That said, I sincerely believe that if Greece ever needed a sign of hope and a reminder of the art and culture that make it such a special place, that time is now. I admit, I needed this album too: I have had "Crossing Over" and "Far Away" on repeat as I process the news.
My thoughts are with those affected by the tragedy and with the doctors, nurses, and rescue teams working around the clock.
~ Rodey Tsapralis, a.k.a. The Metal Mayan
With a nearly endless list of contributions to the arts and sciences over many centuries, it is no surprise that the country of Greece has been home to incredible heavy metal bands. To date, The Metal Archives has recorded over 2,400 metal bands and artists, including Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, and the gone but never forgotten Astarte.
Despite their absence from the Archives, Elysion has more than earned their place in heavy metal history since their formation in 2006. Hailing from Athens, their latest offering, Bring Out Your Dead, is an excellent example of music heavily influenced by a culture rich in legends and lore.
Beginning with the driving guitar riffs of "Blink Of An Eye", the album oozes with the enchanting serum of gothic metal. Vocalist Christiana Hatzimihali is as haunting and mysterious as any goddess of ancient mythology could be. The captivating keyboard work of "Crossing Over" delivered by guitarist/keyboardist Giannis "Johnny Zero" Giannikos adds an immaculate layer of symphonic metal to the mix.
Calling to mind the works of Epica, Visions of Atlantis (who actually had former Elysion vocalist Maxi Nil in their ranks from 2009 to 2013), and Lacuna Coil, "Raid the Universe" and closing track "Eternity" both blend stellar textures of progressive and atmospheric metal. As perhaps the hidden gem of the album, "Far Away" captures a sense of loneliness that, while strong, also comes with a feeling of harmony with oneself.
Coming in as their third album, Bring Out Your Dead takes already impressive qualities of Elysion's previous releases and builds upon them. The end result is an album that reflects so much of the passion and spirituality Greece has long been famous for.
Even if one has never been to the country, each track of this album is a an audial visit to far away places. Sitting the shadow of Mount Olympus, gazing over the sea from the shores of Thessaloniki, or wandering the streets of Athens as night falls; there is simply no shortage of portals to somewhere else within each song.
Visit your local record store and pick up a copy of Bring Out Your Dead, out 17 March on Massacre Records.
Advanced copy courtesy of Dustin Hardman and Massacre Records