ELEINE – WE SHALL REMAIN
LABEL: Atomic Fire Records
RELEASE: July 14th, 2023
AUTHOR: Samantha Shears
01. Never Forget
02. Stand By The Flame
03. We Are Legion
04. Promise Of Apocalypse
05. Blood In Their Eyes
07. Through The Mist
09. War Das Alles
10. We Shall Remain
ELEINE is, by their own definition, a dark symphonic metal band that first came onto the scene in 2014, steadily growing in popularity with each new release. “We Shall Remain” is the band’s fourth album following the success of their 2020 release, “Dancing In Hell”. Taking inspiration from black, death and thrash metal, ELEINE’s approach to the genre packs more of a punch than many of its contemporaries, but still overflows with melody thanks to the orchestral backdrop and sultry yet powerful vocals of Madeleine Liljestam.
“Never Forget”, opening track and one of four singles, is a fitting introduction to the album and ELEINE’s sound as a whole. The riffing of guitarist Rikard Ekberg drives the song forward, with bassist Filip Stålberg and drummer Jesper Sunnhagen flawlessly keeping up the high pace. We also get a taste of all three vocal styles that ELEINE provides: Rikard performs both clean and harsh vocals on the second verse, while Madeleine carries the rest of the song. The chorus is catchy, with uplifting lyrics: “Watch as I rise / Reclaim my life / Under the darkest of skies”. This theme of finding inner strength and rising above adversity is present throughout the album.
Two more of the singles follow, starting with “Stand By The Flame”, a fairly straightforward but pleasing midtempo track with a strong vocal performance from Madeleine. Rikard joins forces with Madeleine once again on vocals in “We Are Legion”, a battle anthem with thunderous instrumentation, memorable melodies and inspiring lyrics: “Let your spirit soar / We’ve conquered hell before / We have our strength in unity”.
“Promise Of Apocalypse” is up next. This is a slower-paced but still guitar-driven track, almost reminiscent of doom metal at points. The song gives space for both the orchestrations and Madeleine, the lone vocalist on this track, to shine. “Blood in Their Eyes”, one of the heaviest tracks on the album, is full of energy with an epic chorus, ending with a growled passage from Rikard.
ELEINE continues the tradition of including a short instrumental on their albums with “Vemod”. This track marks a subtle shift between the lively, catchy songs of the first half and the more melodic, bombastic second half. Make no mistake, all of these elements are present throughout the entire record, but where the focus lies feels different.
“Through The Mist” stands out with its gradual buildup, sweeping chorus, Middle Eastern flair and the second appearance of Rikard’s clean vocals on the album. We hear him transition from clean to harsh vocals before Madeleine takes over for the rest of the track. The song ends with some positively ethereal vocals from Madeleine, backed up by choral chants.
“Suffering” and “War Das Alles” are easily my personal favourites with their huge, bombastic yet melancholic choruses. Madeleine sounds simply stunning here on both of these tracks. Rikard excels in different ways, with a wonderful melodic guitar solo on “Suffering” and a great growled verse on “War Das Alles”. The latter track is also worth noting for its lyrics, which are primarily English, but with a German chorus from a poem written by Madeleine: “War das alles [Was this all] / Ist es vorbei [Is it over] / Ich bin nicht mehr [I am no more]”.
Titular track “We Shall Remain” closes out the record, mixing well many of the elements that define ELEINE’s sound. After the darkness of the previous two songs, we return to a more uplifting mood again with lyrics describing rising from the ashes. Guitars and orchestrations both play a prominent role on this catchy track. The chorus is a little reminiscent of “All Shall Burn”, which appeared on both an EP of the same title and later “Dancing In Hell”. Overall, it is a suitable end to a strong album.
“We Shall Remain” has a short runtime of just under 37 minutes, but this allows the band to showcase their best material without overstaying their welcome. Nothing feels like filler here. ELEINE has carved out an interesting space for themselves within the symphonic metal scene, focusing on memorable melodies and accessible song structures without sacrificing heaviness or complexity. This release is a natural progression from their previous work, further establishing their unique sound. If you have heard and enjoyed the rest of ELEINE’s discography, as I have, you will likely enjoy this one too. On the other hand, if you have found ELEINE’s particular brand of symphonic metal is not for you, this album is not likely to change your mind. For those of you who are entirely new to ELEINE, this would be a great starting point as there is plenty to enjoy here. I look forward to hearing whatever the band next has in store!