LYKATHEA AFLAME — Elvenefris

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LYKATHEA AFLAME - Elvenefris cover
3.80 | 12 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2000

Tracklist


1. Land Where Sympathy Is Air (5:50)
2. To Become Shelter And Salvation (4:35)
3. Bringer Of Elvenefris Flame (5:59)
4. Flowering Entities (5:44)
5. To Give (3:57)
6. On The Way Home (6:36)
7. Shine Of Consolation (3:39)
8. Sadness And Strength (8:05)
9. A Step Closer (7:19)
10. An Old Man And A Child (9:10)
11. Walking In The Garden Of Ma'at (11:14)

Total Time: 72:12

Line-up/Musicians


- Petr Tománek / Guitars, Vocals
- Tomáš Corn / Drums
- Andy Maresh / Bass
- Ondra Martínek / Guitars

Guest/Session:
- Jiří Tománek / Keyboards (Track 11)
- Pavel Marcel / Keyboards

About this release

Released by Obscene Productions.
Release date: October 31st, 2000

On November 28th, 2012, Blood Music released a diehard edition of the album, which was signed by Petr "Ptoe" Tománek and Tomáš Corn. These signed albums were limited to 50 hand-numbered copies (25 of the 2011 2CD reissue, 25 of the 2012 black 2LP vinyl reissue). The albums each came with a shirt, limited to 60 (10 of the shirts were available with the All Spawns diehard edition). The artwork on the shirts was designed by Ptoe Tománek.

Recorded in summer 2000 at Studio Hostivař in Prague.
Mixed and mastered at Studio Hostivař.

Thanks to Lynx33, UMUR for the updates

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LYKATHEA AFLAME ELVENEFRIS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Elvenefris" is the debut full-length studio album by Czech Republic, Prague based death metal act Lykathea Aflame. The album was released through Obscene Productions in October 2000. Lykathea Aflame was formed in 1999 by three former members of Appalling Spawn and drummer Tomáš Corn (who replaced Gabriel "Gábin" Pavlík). Appalling Spawn were active from 1995 to 1999 and released the "Bestial, Mystical & Spiritual (The First Spawn)" demo in 1996 and the "Freedom, Hope & Fury (The Second Spawn)" full-length studio album in 1998 before morphing into Lykathea Aflame.

The material on the 11 track, 72:12 minutes long album is a combination of technically well played brutal death metal parts and epic atmospheric parts. The vocals are predominantly ultra brutal unintelligible growls, but there are spoken word passages on some tracks too. The musicianship is generally through the roof, and especially drummer Tomáš Corn plays on a jaw-dropping technical level (which often reminds me of Flo Mounier from Cryptopsy). Keyboards are used for effect, but other than that this is guitar, bass, drums, and vocal dominated death metal. There´s the occasional use of acoustic guitars, and middle eastern scales, which only adds to the variation of the album, but those effects aren´t used that often. "Elvenefris" features a powerful, and detailed sound production, so in that department it´s a quality release too.

"Elvenefris" is overall a quality release and a quite interesting one too. There´s a slight issue with the tracks sounding a bit too much the same, and the keyboard dominated 11:14 minutes long closing track "Walking In The Garden Of Ma'at" being a bit of a tedious ambient listen, which could easily have been cut to a playing time of a few minutes and made a nice outro to the album, but instead drags and drags until the listener feels ready to go to sleep. So upon conclusion it´s not a perfect release by any means, but take each track out of context (except "Walking In The Garden Of Ma'at"), and it´s hard not to be impressed by the epic sound, the brutality, the technical playing, and the relatively original sound of the album. So despite a few isues a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.
siLLy puPPy
LYKATHEA AFLAME is, or was actually, one of those many artsy tech death bands that seems to cause derision in the metal community. On the one hand you have the metal purists who find any tinkering with the metal basics of brutal, distorted essentials that separate the genre from the greater rock universe will taint the defining musical “aesthetics” and wish to install a eugenics program to keep metal from “breeding” with other musical genres. And then you have those who love the idea of a brutal tech death band that has the gall to follow in the shoes of avant-gardists like Mr Bungle by adding completely opposing musical moods and styles to the frenetic bantering of the head banging bombast which LYKATHEA AFLAME does in abundance. And of course, you have many who fall somewhere in between.

This band came from the Czech Republic and released this one well known, well loved as well as well hated album after they morphed from their previous incarnation as Appalling Spawn. While in A.S. they had already begun the process of expanding their horizons beyond the Cryptosy meets Nile death metal paradigm, on their sole LYKATHEA AFLAME release ELVENEFRIS, they really let the dog off the leash and like a randy slut at a frat party, mixes company with more styles of music than a brothel sees when a navy ship docks in Bangkok. The result is a blissful journey for the aforementioned artistic types and a wellspring of irritation for the purists who cannot comprehend the massive effort that went into this one.

ELVENEFRIS is a long beast to say the least, so it requires a major commitment to sit through this one but for any open minded tech death metalheads out there, this is on the essential listening list as it randomly drifts at hyperactive speed through a plethora of genres that meet and greet the brutal Cryptosy inspired blastbeat drumming, Nile inspired compositional drive (think Egyptian themes and thundering epic heavy metal melodies that intertwine with the chaotic death metal riffs) and a seemingly random chaotic romp through the tech death universe. What sets LYKATHEA AFLAME apart from almost every other extreme metal band of the day was that they were equally at home with long drifting ebbs and flows that delved in post-metal, classic 80s heavy metal and even metalcore, Pagan black folk metal and of course progressively infused compositional efforsts.

While bantering death growls and orotund pyroclastic aggression is the norm, LYKATHEA AFLAME provide tender moments of melodic folky sections with clean and “properly” sung vocals as well as pacifying new age passages, the longest which ends this sprawling repertoire of just over 72 minutes. It’s fair to say that ELVENEFRIS started a trend in the extreme metal world that allowed bands like Between The Buried And Me, Augury, Unexpect and others to radically expand the parameters of what was acceptable within the confines of a death metal listening experience. As with any form of extreme music ranging from punk and industrial to metal, there are those who staunchly resist such artistic liberties and others who wholeheartedly embrace it. Personally i straddle both lines of thought. I love the pure unadulterated styles of death metal but when done right, an artsy mind-blowing mix of genres is exactly what scratches that itch.

It occurred to me that the type of musical delivery that artists like LYKATHEA AFLAME offer comes from a form of musical thought. As a musician i have found my own inner soundtrack operates much like the music presented on ELVENEFRIS, that being a seemingly random parade of riffing variations decorated with various dynamic and tempo shifts that seem to drift in and out of whatever background music of the moment happens to be. Think of this sort of thought process as having a continuous spectrum of counterpoints churning in our heads where metal, post-rock, circus clown music or whatever just sort of emerges as the dominate format at any given moment. It’s sort of like a pipeline to that invisible world where creativity comes from and while that is usually the first step for an artist in crafting their works, LYKATHEA AFLAME seemed to find it adequate to utilize these random inspirations into a freeform explosive callithump.

This is very much tantamount to what some musical savants can conjure up as they can effortlessly transcribe a Mozart piece to sound like a Dixieland jazz number on the spot. So too does this occur for a select few musical minds who seem to think in music, however very few artists record their music in this astroplane sort of style. Virtuosos like Steve Vai have had tracks that utilize this process as well as other avant-garde metal artists like Maudlin Of The Well, but in the grimy pits of the extreme death metal world, this sort of thing doesn’t emerge too often since death metal by its very nature is more of a hellish beast that is firmly based on a set of unspoken rules. LYKATHEA AFLAME was paramount in taking this underground musical world into the ethereal dream state and channel the results into what would emerge as ELVENEFRIS.

Many consider ELVENEFRIS to be a masterpiece while others a complete piece of trash. Having the same sort of musical loves of never-ending musical variations and genre bending, i have to say that i fall in the camp of loving this album however at the same time, my inner critic emerges to also agree that this is by far an imperfect album. Firstly, it’s way too long and some of the meandering in certain sections, especially the lengthy post-rock and ambient parts can be way too long and little editing would’ve made this much stronger. Both post-rock and ambient can be fine in their own realms but the contrast here seems awkward and not planned out as how to integrate it into the overall mood swings of the album. As many others have stated, the ubiquitous snare drum bombast provides a rather generic percussive drive throughout the album’s run. More percussive variation would’ve gone a long way.

If only the other elements of the music were as diverse as the need for an incessant tempo change and addition of changing subdued elements ELVENEFRIST could’ve been a much better album. LYKATHEA AFLAME should have developed into a true artistic powerhouse had they recorded another album or two but even taken as is, ELVENEFRIS is a powerfully unique technical death metal experience that more often than not delivers the goods of a true extreme avant-garde maelstrom of metal madness. On the plus side, the album balances melody with dissonance quite successfully and never relies on any trick or trinket within the metal passages for too long. While not perfect in my mind, LYKATHEA AFLAME, like many bands that have emerged from Eastern Europe delivered a strong album that offered a completely new way to experience the perpetually expanding world of the death metal universe and despite the incessant complaints of the wimpy non-metal parts, this is a brutal death metal beast of an album to be reckoned with.
Warthur
Appalling Spawn transmogrified into Lykathea Aflame for this one-off album of technical death metal. As the cover art's aesthetic suggest, ancient Egyptian themes pop up here and there, though usually in the form of stereotypically Egyptian-sounding music played alongside the band's frenetic riffing. The technicality on display is undeniably impressive, though I feel that this is one of those albums where the showing off ends up hurting affairs rather than helping: it's one of those albums where at points the musicians seem to lose interest entirely in conveying any sort of point or establishing any sort of mood or generally accomplishing anything else with their music other than making the most complicated noise they can possibly make.
Conor Fynes
'Elvenefris' - Lykathea Aflame (8/10)

Although Lykathea Aflame only released one album before caving in and changing band names, it is rare to see an expanded list of the 'greatest death metal albums of all time', and not see their work present. Despite virtually universal acclaim across the board, Lykathea Aflame have never achieved that more widespread recognition, although that may be for good reason. Although death metal fans (and metalheads in general) tend to lean towards some side of the spectrum- be it melodic death or brutal grind- 'Elvenefris' sees this talented group touch upon the lightest and heaviest elements of the style, often propping up next to each other. The end result is an incredibly chaotic and challenging record, but also one filled with beauty, precision, and listening satisfaction.

For those already familiar with death metal, Lykathea Aflame's heavier elements lean towards the niche of 'brutal death metal'; a pummelling brand of death metal that is best represented by its low guttural vocals, and- as one may have guessed by the name- a hyberbolic sense of brutality. Although the incredibly low vocals of Radim Matìjka plant Lykathea Aflame firmly within that particular school of death metal, there is much more to 'Elvenefris' than brutal riffs and blasts. What has made this album stand the test of time is the fact that Lykathea Aflame introduce strong melodic hooks, and even mellow moments of atmosphere amidst the crushing heaviness. These atmospheric melodies are often based in Middle-Eastern music. Although they are from the Czech Republic, 'Elvenefris' carries an Egyptian theme in the music. To illustrate; 'Land Where Sympathy Is Air' opens the album with a jarring melody that sounds plucked out of oriental music. The combination of these widely contrasting sounds is challenging to hear at first, but as a listener becomes more used to the distinctive death metal sound that Lykathea Aflame plays, the risk pays off.

The guttural vocals are a bit hard to handle at first, even for someone who is fairly versed in the death metal genre. However, they are mixed very well into the rest of the sound, never overpowering the instruments. Radim's very low growl makes it virtually impossible to hear what he's saying for the most part, and the vocals virtually become a blanket of heaviness that compliments the feeling that the metal elements bring. For an album of this aggressiveness, 'Elvenefris' does run a tad long, going several minutes over the hour mark. When one considers that the last track is an unnecessary piece of synth-laden ambiance, it's clear that some of the music here could have been shaved off, without losing any of the meaning. Lykathea Aflame's album does not strike me as the flawless masterwork that some claim it is, but I can certainly appreciate why they would think that about the music here. In a style that is most plagued by generic bands, 'Elvenefris' stands out, and still sounds as fresh today as it did a decade ago.
The Angry Scotsman
Let me first say this album blows my mind! Lykathea Aflame, (now just Lykathea) was introduced to me by my brother because of how obscure they were. We could not find them even in our always reliable local music store. However, we grew to love "Elvenefris" This album is the epitome of Progressive Metal. In an instant it shifts from soft, slow melodies with clean guitar work to brutal death metal. Every song on this album will take you to both extremes, several times.

The guitar work on this album is best described as organized chaos. It never does the same thing for more than 20 seconds at a time. Throughout any song you will hear death metal-esque tremolo picking, crushing riffs, (and they are always different!), eastern influences, and very technical licks.

The drumming on "Elvenefris" is truly astounding. While there are plenty of thrash beats, double bass, and mind numbingly fast blast beats, there are also very technical beats. There is constant use of double bass, with complex ride/snare patterns over it. The drumming is very fill heavy, and just like the guitar work it is always changing. On the flip of a switch Tomas Corn alternates from precision snare and bass drumming to blast beats, then to a jazzy interlude, and back to pounding blast beats. That is what amazes me most, his technicality on the album as well as his stop and go skills.

Every song is different, and each is an indescribable experience of technicality. Despite the extreme metal feel to the album, there is the 11:13 long "Walking in the Garden of Ma'at" which is entirely consistent of bird chirping and "nature" sounds.

If there is one downside to this album, it has to be the vocals. I am a seasoned veteran of metal, and death metal, but even I have some difficulty with the vocals on this album. I am not sure how to describe them..."pig squeal" vocals, seem the best way to go, (to me the vocals often just sound like "bree"). It should be noted the vocals often fit the music very well, but they can be tough to swallow. Luckilly, the vocals are not used heavily, or else I might have to give this album a lower rating. However, spoken word is also used frequently and if you are a fan, you will get past the vocals.

This is one of the best metal albums, ever. Quite a claim given its obscurity and extremity, but I stand by it. Some of the most extreme, technical, and progressive metal there is. The musicianship on this album is simply brilliant. A masterpiece of metal.

Five Stars

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