Elohim - Modest Memoirs
Self released
Melodic Death Metal
5 songs (22'13")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Last week I reviewed Michigan’s Summer Dying and drew some comparisons to old Dark Tranquillity. Just about everybody knows that I am a huge fan of those Swedish masters, and that may contribute to me hearing when somebody is using them for influence. So, when I started playing Modest Memoirs by Elohim I thought to myself: “Not again!” However, what can I do if this DOES sound like a Dark Tranquillity worship? Accuse me all you want of narrow-mindedness and deaf ears, but I will stand by my comparisons. The truth is, though, that Elohim probably does not mind being mentioned in the same cohort as their Gothenburg idols. Elohim is definitely not on the same level yet, but they have a ton of talent and personality worth exploring.

Unpretentiously titled Intro sets the tone by going through spacey keyboards, electronic bells, water boiling in a cauldron, and all other mysterious things. The real fun begins with a cruncher Haunted. The melody flows through the riffs and leads of dual guitar attack. Vocalist Jocke Karlsson growls confidently. Catchy chorus with the lead behind the vocals demands singing along, and that riff after Karlsson screams “Haunted” is headbanger’s delight. Gothenburg recipe followed to a tee, something Dark Tranquillity would do, let’s say, on The Mind’s I. Things progress further with mid-pace Adjusting the Sun, into the Projector era, when high-hat, cymbal and melodic riff intro die down for a keyboard backed clean singing a-la Paradise Lost and Depeche Mode. This is contrasted nicely by the addictively aggressive chorus. Set in a major key guitar lead is echoed by the keyboard arpeggios before doing it solo (I really wonder how a dual guitar lead would sound here?). The best track of the demo, The Unknown Part, is an apogee of all things Gothenburg. Clean piano intro by Kim Petersson, 30 sec long tormented screams, powerful riffing and even a psychedelic keyboard solo. On the closer Cloaked, the band infuses some thrash beats with an interesting mid-point melodic breakdown which has a few notes by a Swedish harmonica. Chaotic lead, and fast drum beat conclude the proceedings.

A few not-so-good points. It is either a gear or a trend, but the snare sound in Elohim jumps right at you, and not in a good way. Guys, let Metallica do whatever they want, but it is a distraction, really, to listen the way Tommy Magnusson pounds plastic buckets. On an otherwise surprisingly good production this stands out. Also, when the tempo speeds up (Cloaked) a few times I had a feeling that the drums lag behind the riffs for a split second. More rehearsing will have that taken care of.

If this started as a high school project – I want to go to that high school. Being that I am a little old for high school, I, at least, want my kid to attend there, so I can come and watch the local band competition. Pipedream, of course. Half a year ago I was treated to another outstanding demo by a young Swedish band called Hyperborean. They really must grow talent on trees in Sweden. Whatever Elohim yields in polish to Hyperborean, they make up (with profit) in emotion. An interesting name for a band too (Elohim is one of the names Jews address God).

I’ll tell you what I am going to do when I am done writing this review. I am going to see if I can get the band’s earlier demo Yet Unnamed – should be another good one.

Killing Songs :
Haunted, Adjusting the Sun, The Unknown Part
Alex quoted 76 / 100
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