Elffor - Son of the Shades
Northern Silence Productions
Dark Ambient with hints of Black Metal
10 songs (59'42")
Release year: 2008
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex

If you were to check out Eol’s picture in all of his corpse-painting glory you would think that the man is the lost cousin of Immortal’s Abbath. I do clearly see the resemblance in the way the coloring and shades are selected. Yet, even though the man behind Elffor has a grim look, do not expect Son of the Shades to sound anything like Pure Holocaust or Blizzard Beasts. Eol is pushing the envelope in the totally different direction, instead laying down some dark ambient music which hints at black metal only in spots.

The kvtlness factor must be kicking through the roof when the 500 copies of Son of the Shades originally recorded back in 2002 were sold in less than two months. Northern Silence is hereby giving everyone a chance to partake in the Elffor’s dark art by reissuing all of the four albums ever recorded by the band. The current reissue comes completely re-recorded and re-mastered, not to mention a pair of bonus tracks and the new, even though a little cartoonish, artwork.

If the Intro makes you think that you are wading through the drafty abandoned ghost infested castle, that feeling is there to stay. Elffor’s music is humongous layered keyboard orchestration with nary a percussive beat and fuzzy guitars pushed way deep into a background. This is the music which entices, enthralls and beckons. It is very conducive to introspection and image conjuring of far away mysterious lands or at least times long gone by. The artist uses the term medieval, but mystical can apply just as well. Hymnical (The Nocturnal Moon) or with a clear Celtic overtone (Ravensong), these songs have little to do with typical or even atmospheric black metal, where guitars or extreme vocals carry a lot of weight.

A bigger part of the album is completely instrumental, with a few raspy words or “cathedral”-like choirs mixed in. The dreary creeping feeling is reflected just as well by the use of flutes (… Of Wolves and Blood), bagpipes (Long Winter Days) or clean piano lines (Unholy Gleam) carrying the main melody. If you ever heard Lord Wind, Son of the Shades could be an excellent reference.

Where guitars are a touch more delineated and given more prominent role, the album reminds a great deal of the older Summoning records, especially the songs like Infernal Woods and Long Winter Days. One of the bonus tracks, Hidden in the Nebular Landscapes, brings that early Summoning electricity and mixes it with Elffor ambiance, the track growing in power, and even finishing with a short, and only, blast on the album. In fact, if there was a complaint with Son of the Shades, it is that the songs start and end on a random note, without a complete outline, unlike the way nowadays Summoning mastered the art. For an example, see the title track cut off short, just after it begins gathering steam. Also, somehow my head does not connect the misanthropic and demonic lyrics with the lush serene nature of the music. Reading the few lyrics present in the booklet made me rethink a lot of the original representations the album generated.

If you are in the mood to relax to something very meticulously and carefully crafted, whether your soul feels the blackness of Eol or not, Elffor’s Son of the Shades is just that album to sway you back in time.

Killing Songs :
Infernal Woods, Unholy Gleam, Hidden in the Nebular Landscapes
Alex quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Elffor that we have reviewed:
Elffor - From the Throne of Hate reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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