Review: Ruins of Elysium – Seeds of Chaos and Serenity (Individual Symphony Arcs)

a3518272150_16.jpgWritten by Elliot John Doe

Ruins Of Elysium are a Brazilian/Italian/Norwegian symphonic metal trio with Drake Chrisdensen’s lead tenor vocals setting the band apart in the their genre and having already created a buzz with their debut EP ‘Daphne’. Now unleashing their first full length ‘Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity’ containing 11 tracks and clocking in at an impressive 75 minutes, full of epic soundtracks, aggressive guitars back with fast paced drumming, all wrapped in haunting operatic vocals. Touching upon subjects such as astrology, witchcraft, LGBT empowerment and geek culture with nods to computer game ‘Shadow of Colossus’ and the Manga graphic novel and T.V. show classics ‘Sailor Moon’. Let’s see if Seeds Of Chaos & Serenity (Individual Symphony Arcs) lives up to its epic hype.

Album opener ‘Kama Sutra’ flows in with a tribal, cultural and symphonic mix until cascading drums and artillery riffing burst through setting the perfect backdrop for Chrisdensen’s elevating vocals. A solid fist pumping introduction for what’s to follow.

‘Shadow Of The Colossus’ is a grandiose soundscape that is brimming with fantasy and soon transforms into a full blown song completed with big drums and guitars that work harmoniously with the strings and chorals. Great hooks wind and twist all over while accessible lyrics give the extra push on this track.

The first single from the album ‘Serepentarius’ kicks off with a massive choir that feels very epic. As the rest of the music comes into play it has almost a pop sensibility to it, yet staying true to those symphonic elements. A true feeling of elation is pushed through with Chrisdensen’s vocals on this one backed with the perfect composition for his voice. A well placed and perfectly executed guitar lead really brings out the metal.

‘Beyond The Witching Hour’ starts out with choppy strings before the drums and guitars bring on some head banging action, very catchy with some great key changes, probably the darkest proffering so far. Musically, it serves the band well, but the vocals, although sung well, don’t seem to gel so well with the darkness. Still a solid track showing a versatile side to what Ruins of Elysium are capable of.

‘Iris’ harks back to the essence of beauty that these guys create sonically through strings, choir and dreamscape sounds. An interim track that doesn’t last long but is the perfect scene setter for ‘The Birth Of A Goddess,’ which highlights the use of clavichord in the intro, descending into the perfect balance of dark & light with some great guitar work, smart choices in the drumming and those prominent strings bringing the whole piece alive.

The 2nd half of the album is spans over five tracks and together creates one complete 40 minute piece that acts as the special edition section of this album, as there is a version without these tracks. Inspired by Sailor Moon and each song sharing the title track ‘Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity’ with a number and the word “arc”. I feel these coming tracks deserve to be thought of as one entity, like chapters in a novel.

‘Arc 1: Crystal’: Clearly manga inspired, it has a cultural and ‘80’s electronic feel to the intro that is amped up with strings and choral vocals, quite an elongated introduction but it makes for an all more powerful hit with the arrival of the drums and guitars, and a real feel of storytelling in the lead vocals.

‘Arc 2: Black Moon’: Played into beautifully from the previous track, carrying on the same feel and theme, adding narration and piano parts. Some great riffs don’t take long to make their way in accompanied by gear shift drumming and an exciting bass lead.

‘Arc 3: Infinity’: The vibe takes a darker turn in part 3, still emanating an essence of Japanese cartoons and video games alike whilst ringing true with the upkeep of metal and injecting it with a flair that only Ruins Of Elysium can. Another fine piece of conveying a story that the band are truly, and clearly, passionate about. The drum work on this track has been my favorite part; absolutely mind blowing.

‘Arc 4: Dreams’: A diminuendo before the big finale that really ties the story together, bridging the gap between the middle and the end, exploring all manner of synths and strings that these guys have in their arsenal, containing soaring vocal elements.

‘Arc 5: Stars’: After promising an epic piece, Ruins Of Elysium have achieved just that with their final track, clocking in at over 10 minutes this has to be one of the biggest works I’ve come across in a long time and you can feel the passion above anything else that has gone into this tale being told, apart from wrapping up the story and being the last track on the album, I feel this song really encapsulates a good representation of what the band do and have to offer, a brilliant piece of work.

In conclusion, this is a distinguished collection of songs, full of crescendos and epicness, what’s more Ruins of Elysium have captured their love of what they do and write about in such a way it’s hard not to carry on listening to what they have put out. As some constructive criticism I’d say some of the intros drag on a bit too long and possibly change up some of the feel or vibes musically, introduce some other sounds to keep things fresh and interesting, but here there obviously is a vibe that is carried over the whole opus and is translated clearly and well. This was almost a masterpiece; great work guys. Let’s see what the future holds for this bands gargantuan sound. 7/10

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