ELYSION – BRING OUT YOUR DEAD
LABEL: Massacre Records
RELEASE: March 17th, 2023
AUTHOR: Mike Smith
01. Blink Of An Eye
02. Crossing Over
03. Far Away
04. Buried Alive
05. As The Flower Withers
06. Raid The Universe
07. This Time
08. Brand New Me
09. Blue Seasons
Back From The Dead And Packing Spaceships!!
ELYSION is a Greek atmospheric metal band from Athens, Greece with gothic, alternative and electronic elements. The band was formed in 2006 and has released an EP (ELYSION demo – 2006) and two full length studio albums (“Silent Scr3am“ – 2009 and (“Someplace Better” – 2014). Nine years later, “Bring Out Your Dead“ will be their third full length album which is scheduled for release March 17 on Massacre Records. The band members are Christianna Hatzimihali – lead vocals, Giannis ‘Johnny Zero’ Giannikos – rhythm guitar and keyboards, Nikos ‘NiD’ Despotopoulos – lead guitar, Ilias P. ‘Laitsman’ Laitsas – drums and new addition Andreas ‘AR’ Roufagalas – bass guitar. Longtime bassist Antonios ‘Anthony FxF’ Bofilakis departed the band in 2022. The band has officially stated that: “Bring Out Your Dead” is a metaphor, suggesting that extreme times are requiring extreme measures to get rid of everything rotten inside us and let the healing begin”. So lets peel back the skin and dig in shall we?
“Blink Of An Eye“ opens the album with a more metallic modern approach than most of their previous work. After the energetic intro it quickly switches into a riff that reminds me of something I’ve heard on the first Dream Theater album! When Christianna belts out the first lines it’s obvious that nine years has not diminished her abilities one bit! She sounds incredible! Then comes that familiar sing-along ELYSION chorus they’re known for, it goes like this: “Every second you’re wasting / You gotta keep hasting / Keeps you falling behind / And life is passing you by / No time for resting / You gotta keep hasting / Or your life is gone / In the blink of an eye“. It’s extremely catchy and memorable! You will have it stuck in your head later guaranteed! Just an amazing song!
“Crossing Over“ was the first single released with an official video to accompany it. This is actually their very first official music video ever! It’s also our first time hearing something new from the band after nine long years! What a beautiful and powerful song! Christianna sings with passion and emotion as she delivers these lines: “I cry for all these years I leave behind me / But I’ve made up my mind / I’ve been blind, now it’s time / Have to leave you behind”. Her vocals and harmonies are simply fantastic! The band sounds amazing and Nikos delivers a short but very effective solo. The album is off to a fantastic start!
Track 3 continues to impress as Christianna takes us “Far Away” to brighter skies! After a cool moody guitar intro the band joins in and soon they’re rocking a riff that’s very reminiscent of “What Lies Beneath“ from “Someplace Better“. I’m beginning to sense a lyrical theme here that seems to indicate she’s been through some dark days and is finally breaking free. From the heart she sings: “Have I trusted in smoking mirrors? / Was it all a dream? / Was it all false? / Waited all my life for this moment / When I’d break away from this torment”. She sounds incredible! Musically the track sticks to the formula that somehow they manage to deliver consistently without it ever getting old! A fantastic song!
Things slow down on track 4 and we are treated to a beautiful yet powerful ballad as Christianna describes what it feels like to be “Buried Alive“. She goes deep on this one into the darkest depths of despair. It seems these lyrics were inspired by a terrible feeling of hopelessness”: “Don’t give me no reason to run from this prison / I would rather stay instead / There’s nothing to save, I’m safe in this grave / There’s no pain when you are dead”. Musically it’s a dramatic piece with beautiful piano melodies and somber strings. The chorus takes things up a notch with bigger guitars, bass and drums, then a soaring guitar solo from Nikos! Definitely a highlight of the album!
“As The Flower Withers“ picks things back up a bit musically. It’s sort of an up-beat rocker. After a brief, futuristic sounding intro it kicks in with a nice energetic riff and beat. I can picture the crowd jumping up and down right away for this one! Lyrically it seems this is another song expressing frustration and true feelings being hidden. Even still Christianna sounds terrific! Delivering her words with passion and elegance! The chorus somehow sounds uplifting and hopeful despite the contrast of the melancholy lyrics: “In the tide / I will bury all the pain inside / As the ending lingers / I will hide / So you never ever see me cry / As the flower withers”. Suddenly the music drops out and there begins an eerie guitar segue which transitions into a plodding, doomy sort of beat as the heavy guitars, bass and drums come back in and Christianna takes us out by repeating the title over and over with infinite passion and sadness. A magnificent song!
The next track was released as the second single along with an animated lyric video. “Raid The Universe“ shows the diversity and maturity of the band both musically and lyrically. The band has said that the “song is partly influenced by one of Christianna’s top favorite movies of all time, Dracula“. She also seems to be using the topic of space exploration as a metaphor and combining it with the idea of stepping out of a situation and reaching for more. During the huge soaring chorus she sings: “I will run through space and time / I’m not giving up without a fight / I’ll never settle for less / I will raid the universe”. Musically the song has a sort of skip-beat. On odd time bass and drums backbone with a really cool spacy sounding guitar pattern throughout. There’s a beautiful guitar solo also that is very different from what we’re used to hearing from Nikos. Another incredible song!
“This Time“ takes us through the pain of being oppressed by an overbearing person, seemingly a parent, who takes pleasure in tearing you down and making you feel worthless. The song has a triumphant message though of believing in yourself regardless of what anyone says and escaping the grip of that person and/or whoever tries to drag you down and keep you from succeeding. Just before the powerful uplifting chorus Christianna sings: “Escaped your terrifying grasp / I don’t know how it crept / Into the grave I laid in / Your reign of fear is fading”. Musically for the most part the song sticks to the tried and true formula that we know and love from ELYSION, but just when we think we know what’s coming next, it suddenly slows down dramatically and there’s a spoken word part over a deliciously powerful slow heavy groove which reveals the inspiration for the song. Then comes that wonderful uplifting keyboard melody we heard at the beginning and it closes out with the chorus. Absolutely fantastic!
Things slow down again briefly as “Brand New Me“ delights our ears with a beautiful 80’s styled guitar melody introduction and some strings. Christianna sings softly: “What’s it like to spend your days in the shadows / Reach a dead end on your road / What’s it like to be a ghost just like I was / ‘Til somebody cuts the rope?”. Abruptly the chorus crashes in with big guitars, bass and drums! Christianna really crushes it on this track as she expresses her epiphany of discovering she’s ready to break the chains of fear that have bound her! Musically the song is a huge power ballad! Big and dramatic with an amazing chorus! A super inspiring song with a great message and enormous hooks! Incredible!
This album just gets better and better with each song! “Blue Seasons“ delivers more incredibly deep and moving lyrics, huge choruses, spectacular vocals and harmonies, powerful epic melodies and guitar riffs, fantastic drums and bass, timing shifts and really tasty keyboards with subtle dynamics and gothic flavors. This song has it all! Lyrically it seems to address the subject of depression, but it’s sung in a way that soothes and caresses. In the chorus Christianna sings: “Blue seasons / I am shivering / Dust built on us / Covered everything / Blue seasons / Night eternal and cruel / I only hide in seasons of blue”. Musically it’s a heavy yet melodic slice of pure excellence!The album closes with the gothic anthem sounding “Eternity“. The title is sort of a paradox because the lyrics talk about how nothing lives forever. Musically it’s a terrific mid-paced hard hitting song but then about midway after a short moody interlude it switches gears and slows down to an almost doomy pace yet with an epic feel. Christianna delivers some beautiful haunting melodies with no words and then she sings slowly: “Enchained by our mortality / Too weak to reach eternity”. The chorus repeats while Christianna sings over it and closes the song with these words: “You should know that no one lives forever / Thus our time is nothing but right here and now / Flowers wither in the stormy weather / Hey yeah / Can’t live forever”. I almost get the feeling she doesn’t really believe there is no eternity but instead is maybe expressing feelings of hopelessness during a time of loss and mourning. At least I hope that’s the case because it would be really sad to think of her, or anyone for that matter, believing that this life is all there is.
In conclusion: What a pleasure it is to have ELYSION back with a new album! It’s been nine long years since the release of “Someplace Better” and I was afraid we had heard the last of this great band. They’re still amazing and they still have that familiar sound and style that we loved so much on the first two releases, while adding exciting new depth, power and diversity. Christianna‘s vocals haven’t lost anything and in fact she sounds better than ever! What a shame we’ve had to wait so long for new music! I can’t help but wonder why. I may be wrong, but I think perhaps if we listen closely to the lyrics, Christianna gives us a glimpse into the reasons. There is a theme running throughout the album of being held back by something, but then breaking free and crossing over from darkness to the light. I know a lot of these songs were created during the lockdowns and so I’m sure a lot of the lyrics are expressing some of the feelings experienced during that time, but I sense it may be something more personal as well. “Bring Out Your Dead“ is a triumphant return to the classic beloved sound of their earlier work! The gothic flavors and electronic elements have been retained but with a bigger production and some extra punch added. It’s so good to have them back! Flowers may wither as their petals are dying, but fear not… ELYSION is still very much alive and well! “Bring Out Your Dead“ and let the healing begin!!