ELEANOR (JPN) — Breathe Life into the Essence (review)

ELEANOR (JPN) — Breathe Life into the Essence album cover Album · 2013 · Gothic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Time Signature
Mourning...

Genre: gothic metal

There are, in my experience, two types of gothic metal: there is the cheesy stuff which features lots of keyboards and female operatic vocals (and, for some reason is associated with Finland), and then there is the good stuff: the melancholic stuff which is rooted in doom metal. Eleanor's "Breathe Life into the Essence" belongs to the second category.

Drawing on the likes of "Mandylion"-era The Gathering, "Alternative 4"-era Anathema, and "Draconian Times"-"Believein Nothing" Paradise lost, Eleanor have produced a massively melancholic and melodic work of Gothic metal in the form of "Breathe Life into the Essence". Every song is tastefully composed and precisely performed, and, despite the many straightforward and accessible melodies that it features, there is a slight avant-garde and quasi-progressive feel to the album.

The opening track "Time, Meditation and Dawn" is a nice little mellow and melancholic piece which sets the tone, mood-wise, for the rest of the album. While the musicianship is impeccable across the board, I particularly enjoy the expressive guitar work by Ippei J. Malmsteen and Nao. In particular, the guitar melodies are very captivating. The band's female Shiori Vitus, who sings in Japanese by the way, opts for more emotional and expressive vocals rather than the operatic singing style otherwise associated with female vocalists in the universe of gothic metal. And, well, her singing style suits the emotional music perfectly.

An artistic success, Eleanor's "Breathe Life into the Essence" is one of those gothic metal albums I really enjoy. It's melancholic. It's melodic. It's compelling. And, it's free of cheese.
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