SUNWAR THE DEAD
CD: Holy Records 95 
Sunwar The Dead
Ares In Their Eyes
The Hemlock Sea
La terre n'aime pas le sang
A Song Of Ashes
Blood and Grey Skies Entwined
fifth album (not counting "Weeping Nights" which wasn't much
more than an alternate version of "Les Ténèbres du
Dehors") and second part of their new 5 albums circle, is now for
the first time fully orchestrated, accompanied by a ensemble of more than
50 classically trained musicians and singers, is their most ambitious
effort and possibly the best to date.
With their preceding album ("Winds Devouring Men"), Elend had
made a few changes on their formula. Added are some industrial experimentations
and starting using only clean vocals (in a similar fashion as Dead Can
Dance), now their compositions are again closer to what they had done
before but with a much greater maturity and the acoustic instruments now
give a whole new dimension to the music; yet here and there you can still
hear traces of the industrial noises that were on "Winds Devouring
Starting off slowly, with female choirs, some noise and distortion, you
might expect a similar pace as its predecessor. It only takes 4:30 minutes
for the second track ('Ardour') to show you what "Sunwar"
is about: fast paced strings and epic soundscapes. Then starts the title
song. One could call it 'brutal neo-classical' music with a even faster
pace and heavy percussion. From there on until closer to the end you will
have no rest and you will be glad for it, tracks 7 and 9 ('Songs of
Ashes' and 'Poliorketika') being the exceptions in thé
middle of the album where things slow down a bit. But here slow trully
doesn't mean bad.
The only possible reproach I could come up with was that at parts I missed
some of the old style screamed vocals for a greater dose of profanation.
If you are (such as myself) an old Elend fan, "Sunwar the Dead"
is a must have; and if you're not but enjoy real sombre music (not your
cheap gothic metal) it's about time you review your concepts and give
it a try.
/ [Holy Records]