REVIEW: Eleine – Dancing in Hell

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ELEINE is a Swedish symphonic metal band that has been around since 2014. In these six years, the band – fronted by alternative model Madeleine Liljestam – has released two full-length albums, 2015’s “Eleine,” and 2018’s “Until the End.” In November 2019 they released the EP “All Shall Burn,” and it’s also worth mentioning that the band has toured with the likes of MOONSPELL, ARCH ENEMY, and MYRATH. On November 27th, 2020, ELEINE released their third studio album, “Dancing in Hell,” through Black Lodge Records.

During the almost fifty minutes of playtime, the listeners will be captivated by heavy riffs, harsh growls, melodic vocals, and beautiful symphonic arrangement, as “Dancing in Hell” is somewhat based on the overly-used “beauty and the beast” approach, with some songs using this trope better than others. As such, “Enemies,” known from their EP, opens the album on a high note with pounding drums, chugging guitar lines, and a subdued violin part. Fueled mostly by Madeleine Liljestam’s soft vocals and packing some melodic riffs and growls for extra volume, “Enemies” and “Crawl from the Ashes” feel simple and linear when compared to both the title track and “Ava of Death.” Ramping up the heaviness factor, “Dancing in Hell” has a faster tempo, more bite to the guitars, and a bigger choir arrangement, while “Ava of Death” is darker, more menacing, and has the best chorus on the album.

Elsewhere, “Memoriam” is a somber and more direct number, with a hefty bass line and great delivery from Madeleine Liljestam, proving that ELEINE is at its best when she is given free rein to take the songs in whatever direction she wants. In this case, it is on a gloomier path so as to give more weight and feel to the lyrics. Standout track “Ava of Death” also proves this point, as well as Madeleine Liljestam’s versatility as a vocalist, as her delivery goes between soft and gritty. “Die from Within” is a massive track, with big backing orchestrations, powerful guitar lines, and some delicate pianos that showcases the band’s potential for writing epic and bombastic pieces. The black metal-oriented “Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie” is a good example of the “beauty and the beast” style done right, as Madeleine Liljestam and Rikard Ekberg’s vocals contrast each other neatly and add a sense of drama to the song, while the guitars are fierce and the drums are potent. The same goes for “All Shall Burn,” the title track of their 2019 EP, where the alternation between Madeleine Liljestam and Rikard Ekberg’s clean vocals gives the song a nice dynamic, while the sparsely used growls add a darker atmosphere.

Dark, heavy, and melodic, “Dancing in Hell” showcases how much ELEINE’s sound has matured over the years, while distancing itself from other bands in the symphonic metal area. Their strength lies in the fact that they don’t rely on the symphonic elements to drive the music, but rather embellish it here and there. This musical offering is varied yet cohesive, with plenty of great moments and invigorating musical ideas to warrant a few satisfying replays.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. Enemies
  2. Dancing in Hell
  3. Ava of Death
  4. Crawl from the Ashes
  5. As I Breathe
  6. Memoriam
  7. Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie
  8. All Shall Burn
  9. Die From Within
  10. The World We Knew
  11. Die from Within (symphonic version)

Lineup

Madeleine Liljestam – Vocals
Rikard Ekberg – Guitar, vocals
Jesper Sunnhagen – Drums
Anton Helgesson – Bass

Label

Black Lodge Records

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