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CD REVIEW: Eleusis - EP
By Alex Jasperse - 03/01/2009 - 10:30 AM EST

Artist: Band: Eleusis
Album: EP [2008]
Label: Independent
Genre: Alternative Metal and Rock
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7.0/10
Songwriting Skills: 6.5/10
Performance Skill: 7.0/10
CD Review:

Enveloped in both ecstasy and agony is Seattle’s Eleusis: an alternative metal ensemble that ventures into the realms of distorted psychadelia, recombining elements from A Perfect Circle, Lacuna Coil and Tool into their own musical concoction.

Musically, there is an overarching softness and restrained textural lushness to Eleusis’s pieces. While only a two-track EP, “Into the Fog” stands as strong opening piece, showcasing the chugging guitar work of Maxwell Neal who introduces prog-rock stylings over a heavy metal basis. There is some call and response between guitar and Nicole Farmer’s (Lacuna Coil drenched) vocals, as angry vocals passages are met with sharp, edgy guitars.

“Surrender” doesn’t stray too far from the wake of the first piece, and is characterized by its dreamier, almost mid-80s stylistic progression. The vocals, guitar and bass do combine to emphasize a contrast between intricate and simple melodies, and are suddenly met with distorted passages of raw musical emotion, maintaining the intimate and mysterious aura that defined much of “Into the Fog”.

The force of the pieces on this album are explosive, precise, complex and richly textured, embedded with angered vocal and guitar lines ready to lash out and tear loose at any moment. But where the EP falters is its foray into the domains of the ethereal, which makes it easy to sideline Eleusis’s music as kitschy and adolescent (the fairy pictures on their site don’t do much to redeem them either). Farmer’s vocals need to be crisper, as her lengthy, sustained passages wear down each pieces intended seductive nature – moving into the tedious and tiresome. On the drum front, Donald Baumer spends more time keeping the beat than actually complimenting Neal’s guitar work during his transitions, and is often kicked into the depths of the background. These criticisms aside, Eleusis has nonetheless produced a (relatively) strong first offering, and may be an act to look out for come a full-length release.

The Verdict: 6.8/10

For more information, please visit Eleusis’s myspace page.

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