Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky – Elis


review by Octavio Ramos Jr

Building upon the orchestral/darkwave approach of bands such as Nightwish and Visions Of Atlantis, Elis unleashes Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky, its third full-length release. More overtly darkwave that its cousins, Elis taps into the sounds of bands such as The Sins Of Thy Beloved, Tristania, and even grandmasters Theatre Of Tragedy to create its bombastic, melancholy, and poppy sound.

The band's centerpiece is vocalist Sabine Duenser, whose ethereal voice reminds me a little of Switchblade Symphony (Devil Inside You is a dead ringer for Tina Root's style) and Lacuna Coil. Although Sabine can attain soprano-like notes, she prefers a raspier approach that gives Elis a distinct edge. Guitarists Pete Streit and Juergen Broger provide some signature riffs, which are inspired by power metal but also bring with them a despondent sound culled from darkwave and gothic metal. Bassist Tom Saxer works light, his throbs absorbed by the atmosphere. Drums and keyboards (particularly piano) also play dominant roles (drummer Rene Marxer left the band recently).

Elis composes lyrics in German and English. Topics include the aftermath of an intense relationship (Devil Inside You), the pain of falling in love (Lost Soul), the ability to come out of darkness (Rebirth), and the seduction of wrath (Anger). As with the music, there is a struggle in the lyrics between beauty and ugliness, joy and profound sadness, and it is this duality that makes Elis stand apart from other symphonic-atmospheric metal bands. Interestingly, the band even taps into the harsh growls of death metal, as exemplified on Heart And Chains. This 'beauty and the beast' vocal approach hearkens to the early days of Theatre Of Tragedy.

With Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky, Liechtenstein's Elis should please fans of gothic metal and symphonic-atmospheric metal. The CD consists of 11 tracks, but the European version, I think, will come with a bonus cover track of Maria McKee's Show Me Heaven (from the Days Of Thunder movie soundtrack).