Released: 2004, Black Lodge / Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is the remastered, re-packaged and re-mixed version of Elvira Madigan’s album BLACK ARTS. Apparently the album now “sounds like it should.” The band further claims that we should “forget the past version, this is a reborn album for the 21st century”. The album was first released in 2000 but due to the lack of distribution the album was so hard to find that they had to give it another try.
Elvira Madigan is a one man project by a Swede named Marcus H. Madigan. Madigan plays all the instruments like guitar, bass, keyboards and he also takes care of the lead vocals. But he has also used something that I highly disrespect in the hard rock scene ... drum programming.
Madigan has written all the lyrics, music and arrangements. The bio I was sent says that he sings in Swedish, but since uses black metal vocals, I can’t really hear it. I don’t have anything against singing in your own language but by that you’re limiting the market drastically. If you really want to know what he sings about he has translated the lyrics into English in the booklet.
Madigan produced the album in his own studio from January through November 1999. The re-mixing was done in that same studio in 2003 and the mastering was done at Polar Studios. There’s nothing bad to say about the production and soundscape. The album sounds like what you would expect from this kind of music.
I would describe this as symphonic black metal with a lot of tempo changes through the songs. There are also influences from Swedish folk music and Madigan has used keyboards to make the music more symphonic. Madigan shifts between black metal vocals and ordinary vocals throughout the songs. Despite the shifting, he’s not a good singer. Luckily only half of the twelve songs are with vocals, the rest is instrumental.
I have to say that I could definitely live without this album in my CD rack. There are so many better bands in this genre. Most of the material feels and sounds dreadful. By using drum programming the rating drops even more. The only positive things about this album are the nice-looking cover, the production and that he protects the Swedish heritage by singing in his native language. I haven’t got any favorite tracks here. Put your money into something that’s good instead.