Released: 2003, Black Lodge
Deep down I feel that this is perhaps a slightly generous mark, but what it came down to me was that Elvira Madigan really caught my ear. It’s not that they are doing anything totally unique but they do it very well. Let me explain.
EM is a one-man project, which always sends off warning bells in my mind. Marcus H of Stockholm is the band and supposedly he has been kicking around the scene for ten years or so. After a few false starts he took matters into his own hands and has created a very, cool album. WITCHES subtitled, ‘Salem (1692 vs.2001)’ is an elaborate concept lyrically and sonically based on the Christian persecution of Witches through the ages.
The cover is gorgeous and the young lady on the front would do the real Elvira (Mistress of the Dark) proud. The art looks like it was done by the fantasy artist Luis Royo; very eye-catching. The band seems to be named after an old movie of the same name and has been around for a while and this is in fact the second full-length disc.
There are five songs and seven instrumental and a little three song trilogy to end the disc. There is a lot going on here. The passion and pain that went into creating this are clearly evident. It would take pages to explain this all but for a good summary visit http://www.elviramadigan.com.
Musically, WITCHES is a blend of almost every type of metal, Black, speed, progressive, neoclassical…there is so much going on in these long, complex and well –arranged songs. There is so much dark, brooding atmosphere, complex musicianship, that this CD entranced me right away. I still don’t think I have figured out all the subtle nuances it has to offer. I can’t explain it any other way than perhaps a sophisticated black metal opera. There are many tempo and timing changes, long interludes, parts that crush with burst of power…mixes of acoustic guitar, piano, ambience, synthesizers, all blended seamlessly with metal.
This is a challenging and intriguing work of art. I don’t use the word ‘art’ to describe music too much because in my mind music is audio but great music can becoming art by painting that picture in the mind’s eye. Dense, rich, progressive highly recommended and highly rewarding.