Released: 2008, Metal Mind Productions
Reviewer: The Crimson King
At long last, the re-release of the classic final album, GODFATHER, by the Polish thrash/death metal act Elysium is here!
Ok, if you are scratching your head after reading that statement, then you are pretty much in the same state of confusion I was when I received my promo copy of GODFATHER. What we basically have here is a reissue of the last album by a band that, from what I can tell, just about no one has ever heard of, and who is no longer even together and making music. And adding to the confusion, the original album was released in Dec. of 2005, (as a give-away in a metal magazine before getting a real release in 2006) which means we are not even three years removed form the original street date. Furthermore, the release is a clone copy of the original, with no additional tracks, re-mastering, or extras to speak of. For this to make any sense to me the album would have to be one of the greatest underground gems of the last decade. Well, it isn’t.
That is not to say that GODFATHER is a bad album, but it certainly isn’t groundbreaking. Elysium’s sound is similar is style to bands like The Haunted. Take some melodic death; mix it with a heap of thrash, and throw a (not-quite) hardcore vocalist over the top. It is a formula that, if anything, is becoming passé at this point in time in metal. Is Elysium heavy? Yes. Do they lay down some real “pit stirring” riffs? Yes. Are they in any way original? No. The album does have some decent tracks like the opener “Follow the Dead,” which has a real throw-down thrash riff, and “Bloodsuckers INC.” which is more groove based, with some melodic leads tossed in to spice things up. The problem is that we have all heard these songs before, done by a multitude of other bands, and usually done better. The one thing I will point out the band does have going for them is that they do have a penchant for writing much headier lyrics than what is normally found in this genre. But it becomes clear that trying to wrap a work of prose like the verse in “Seven Deadly Strikes” (where the band proclaims: “”Forgotten tongues of prophets sound clear/In catacombs of purity/Extinct race awakening/ Beneath the surface of prosperity”) around any kind of melodic device is nearly impossible.
In the end I must come back to what my true gripe with this release really is. Why in the hell is anyone re-issuing this album? There are so many great European metal acts who are truly groundbreaking, who have a difficult time getting albums distributed outside of their continent, and in some cases out of their own country. And there are a vast amount of others whose day has come and passed, but whose catalogue deserves to be put back into print. How this album gets the proverbial nod before countless others is truly befuddling to me.