Released: 2002, Independent
An intriguing project this is. Elvira Madigan is the one-man band of Swedish Marcus Hammarstrom in which he explores various tales of folklore and other subjects, most (surprise, surprise) centered on witches. Apparently Marcus had some previous bad luck in bands and decided to strike out on his own, thus the birth of Elvira Madigan. Furthermore, Marcus claims that the band is a concept project musically with reappearing themes, but not lyrically. Interesting, no?
As a rule, most one-man projects kinda suck, generally because there is no one else around to put a leash on things and reign in the excess. Based on a few listens to this disc, I’d say that Marcus needs to hire himself a band, or at least a partner. At 15 songs, this disc is excessively long, and really begins to drag past the halfway point, especially because the two longest songs (8+ and 7+ minutes respectively) are near the end. What’s worse is that Marcus really only has about 35 minutes of quality musical ideas, but the disc is just over an hour long! Definite chopping needs to be done here.
That being said, I’d still say that WITCHES... is a good disc. Musically it is basically melodic black metal with song progressive edges thrown in for good measure. Marcus` vocals are typical black metal screeches, mixed with whispers and spoken words. Think a less manic Dani Filth. Not entirely original but suited to the music. Musically, the more frantic, aggressive songs like “Lillianah – Demonologi for Domda” and “Haxor” stand out, as does the mostly acoustic “Kvinnorovet”.
Finally, Marcus must be congratulated on handling all of the instrumentation himself. Usually in one-man projects the musicianship can be somewhat lacking, but amazingly, there is no such problem here. A good effort that black metal fans are encouraged to check out.