December 31, 2020 Eleine – Dancing In Hell (Album Review)
Hailing from Sweden, symphonic force Eleine have captured Dancing In Hell, their third full-length album, and set it for release November 27th through Black Lodge Records.
In the short years since their formation in 2014, the outfit has managed to put out two full-length albums, an EP, and close to a dozen singles. Now, less than a year after the 2019 All Shall Burn EP, Dancing In Hell sees the band expand length and breadth of their Symphonic Metal influences.
Led by Vocalist Madeleine Liljestam and Vocalist/Guitarist Rikard Ekberg, the duo continue to enjoy support from Anton Helgesson on bass and Jesper Sunnhagen on drums, who first joined the band for 2019. As a collective, the band’s reliance on renowned Swedish melody while the soaring vocals of Liljestam are improved by the increase of symphonic elements. Additionally, there are even smatterings of melancholy bordering on the Doom/Death threshold, particularly with the track “Ava of Death.” Furthermore, the main riff within the chorus to “Memoriam” is also full of tiny seeds of emotion that could grow into a whole different genre for this outfit.
In contrast to the somewhat rocky history of the band, the only lineup change since 2019 is the departure of Guitarist Ludwig Dante; his presence here restrained to a pair of tracks, “Enemies” and “All Shall Burn,” both of which appear intact from the All Shall Burn EP. Instead, Ekberg handles the bulk of guitar duties, as well as keyboards. Ekberg wears his melodic patch strongly and still writes the bulk of lyrics, but it is the sweeping voice of Liljestam—a trained vocalist since age eight—that rightfully dominates the sound of Eleine.
That in mind, the recent additions of Sunnhagen and Helgesson keep a strong rhythm section. In fact, Sunnhagen is never far from the ear, while Helgesson chooses his pockets to make his presence known, such just below the surface of pieces like “Memoriam,” a track which is otherwise overtaken by riffs and vocals. This is while the syncopated rhythm of “Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie” owes to Sunnhagen in particular, as it is his steady support (if not challenge) of Ekberg as it switches direction between chorus and verse.
Moving forward, Ekberg takes a bit of a break from cleaner vocals here on “All Shall Burn” and the title-track, “Dancing in Hell,” but his growling has improved, and his impressive guitar work continues to reach newer heights; especially on “Crawl from the Ashes,” “Die from Within,” and again, the title-track, specifically. Then, as the album closes, the fully “symphonic” version of “Die from Within” shows the band does not need to rely on its heavy guitars. That said, when everything combines, the sound has a thick component that is impossible to ignore.
Overall, Dancing In Hell sees Eleine reaching a turning point in their career. While their earlier efforts such as 2018’s Until The End and their 2015 self-titled debut showed promise, it is with Dancing in Hell that the band has shown real growth with a working formula. The deft combination of Symphonic Metal with Melodic Death Metal, singed together with the soldering voice of Liljestam, leaves a strong blueprint for this and future releases. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Dancing In Hell 4 out of 5 stars.