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A review on Fatum Elisum (Fatum Elisum) written by Concrete Web

Fatum Elisum are a band from the city of Rouen, in the North of France, formed in 2007 in order to pay tribute (not just as another cover band) to the likes of Saint Vitus, My Dying bride, Esoteric, Paradise Lost, Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, Cathedral etc.; things that are as poundingly slow as they are heavy… They were created as well to pay honour to literary masterminds like Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Villon, Blake or Schopenhauer a. o. In June 2008, the quintet (vocalist EndE, guitar players Hugo and Christophe, drummer Sator and bass player Asgeirr; Sator left shortly after, by the way, and has been replaced by another Christophe) recorded their first full length at the Post Ghost Recordings studio with Julien Bous (who took care of recording, mix and mastering). It was originally independently released at the end of 2008 by the band itself, but like Aesthetic Death states on their home page, they ‘had no option but to sign Fatum Elisum for the release’ of this demonstrational material. In 2011 Fatum Elisum recorded (actually that started at the end of 2010) and released a second album too via Aesthetic Death, called Homo Nihilis. This review, however, will deal with that self-titled debut-recording.

Fatum Elisum is a six-track album, with four of them lasting for more than ten minutes. Only the intro and outro are very short (bringing the total running time of this album to fifty four minutes). That intro, Eli Eli, is a tribal-shamanistic piece, totally a Capella, combining somewhat Buddhist-alike rgyud-skad-chants (a mantric kind of singing) and Gregorian-sounding chants, strongly mixed together. Then comes In Vain, and immediately it smashes and caresses my eardrums and brain at the same time. I’ve always been a fan of My Dying Bride (with exception of one mistake they ever made, but that’s another story), and I’ve always been a fan of Funeral Doom as specific and different genre, but this… This is a Funeral Doom-version of My Dying Bride! What a unique experience to, eh, to experience… No, it goes further than this, of course, but this might set the tone for quite an interesting recording by one of UK’s most impressive labels. The border in between (Traditional) Doom-Death and Funeral Doom is pretty vague; as a matter of fact, it’s like a Venn-diagram, having oppositional characteristics as well as several interfaces at the same time (cf. the likes of Monolithe, Black Wreath, Evoken and so on; you do understand my point of view…). That surely is one of the convincing characteristics of these Frenchmen, to have both (strongly related) genres combines into quite a cohesive result. But they go further, by injecting their massive stuff with usual and unusual aspects. Of course there are lots of changes in structure and tempo. But to come back on In Vain, for instance, there is that semi-acoustic intermezzo, with clean singing of a pretty unique melodious approach (though the sound is pretty different from My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe, there might be a certain comparison when focusing on the expression of those vocal lines) [more My Dying Bride: what to think about the intermezzo at about ten minutes within Phantom]. There are some harsher vocal outbursts as well (cf. semi-blackened screaming, somewhat hysterical akin the DSBM-current), but musically / structurally too, Fatum Elisum come up with some sudden explosions of harshness. And still, it’s not that weird, in this band’s case, to have this symbiosis of brutal aggression and integer, almost introvert and emotional subtlety. There are quite some elements that make me think of earlier Paradise Lost (the timbre of the ‘melodic grunts’ is strongly influenced by Nick Holmes) and Anathema (yeah, I wanted to stay in the U.K. for a while, you see…). In general, the compositions are based on epic and / or dual trem melodies and an extremely heavy rhythm section, with a traditional basic. And no, it is not this band’s aim to renew the scene; why should they anyway?... These guys were joined to pay tribute to the essence of Doom-laden Metal, with as result the crafted and professional ability to compose and perform truly convincing hymns in the old vein. Despite the length of the four main compositions, there is enough to experience, so that there is no chance to fall into boredom, or to lose your attention or interest. Great solos (like towards the end of Phantom), a monstrous sound, esoteric (back ground) chants, cool drumming, the harsh assaults …; it’s just an additional selection of things that make this album so pleasant. The outro Lama Sabachthani is comparable to the intro, with those shamanistic-tribal chants (‘hummmmmmmmm…’), and some frenzy, schizoid vocals.

FFO: Ataraxie, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Evoken, My Shameful, Evadne, Winter, Monolithe, early Anathema and the likes…
Finally this: apparently this group disbanded in summer 2014. Sad…

Read this article on the author's website: Concrete Web.
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