Ecliptic Dawn – Elysian Hypnosis
Reviewer: Sama Shahrouri - 2013-07-30
Highlights: Curse of Corruption , Of Lust and Sins
If there’s anything Ecliptic Dawn have done that’s worthy of raising the heads of Middle Eastern Gothic-doom metal fans is that they released the first ever album of that genre from the region to the world. Founded in 2010, Ecliptic Dawn presented us their first full-length in 2013. An almost 48-minute long album containing 9 tracks of pure Gothic symphony entitled “Elysian Hypnosis”. With guest appearances from Draconian’s Daniel Arredsson and the lovely Anette Gulbrandsen who has worked with multiple different Norwegian bands, this record aims to give its listener the daily dose of Syrian Gothic doom.
Elysian Hypnosis” is the kind of record that you either love or hate from the first listen. It has a monotonous sound from start to finish, and it kind of gets you wondering whether that’s a good thing or not. On one hand, as a listener you are given a full experience of the band—especially since it’s a debut album; you get fully introduced to the members in their continuous and constant effort from song to song, you get a thorough understanding of the band’s theme and style at a point as early as the third song, so you are basically emerged in the world that is Ecliptic Dawn by the end of the record. What you listen to is what they have to offer. On the other hand, that last point could be where the problem is... listening to the record left me wondering if that really is ALL Ecliptic Dawn had to offer. To be honest, it got boring at some point. It was waaay too over-run. Each song is okay on its own, but as a whole ensemble, everything sounded the same.
Let me explain,
The vocals were excellent! The screeching sound of the male vocalist was contrasted well against the harmonious female vocals. This in particular was very easy on the ears; it always excites the listener when a new sound is heard, so the female vocals were crucial in every song they appeared in—which were almost all the songs—which doesn’t really allow any track to stand out vocally.
Now musically speaking, I could say the same. Fast guitar sound + weird organs in the background + female vocals + creepy male vocals, all equal this bizarre feel of a Medieval quest of rescuing a damsel in distress from the highest tower that’s guarded by the meanest creature. Okay it’s kind of fun, but its too stretched out. I really felt like it went on forever. The record contained everything, from changing tempos to a good variety of musical instruments in use (there were strings and lots and lots of keys) and the play was mostly based on the vocals, I felt…In any record ever produced, every element of the band is highlighted somehow at some point, in this record in particular, and according tothe band’s style in musical performance, I felt like each song was headed towards a different aspect, “Moonless Night” and “The Ultimate Escape” for example was on string techniques, “Darkest Rose” on Anette’s vocals, etc… its alright.
This is a tough record to hear, I’ve got to admit. You would probably appreciate the effort if you were a Gothic metal fan obviously, as well as a supporter of underground Middle Eastern metal music, since it feels like the underdog of all the coming/upcoming sounds from the region. Plus not to mention the fact that this band is Syrian and this music was written, arranged and recorded during the current crisis, little social-political influences can definitely be heard as well.
But yeah… its not a bad a production, every genre has its hardcore fans, and as a debut “Elysian Hypnosis” is mediocre. Still a brand new band, young and hopeful members, and a lot of passion can be sensed coming from them, so I predict an alright follow.
Check it out for yourselves, the album is available for live streaming on the band’s Bandcamp page.
Listen local, kids—or international… wherever you live. Just keep listening.