Lecons De Tenebres(Holy Records - 1994)
The album commences with some soft male 'monk' chants, then is joined by tasteful and well done orchestrated keyboards and a male spoken vocal - all soft dark, and sorrowful. Right at the end of the first track there spews out a tortured male scream that lashes out with such anguish and rage, yet still fits in with the music somehow. This is the general style of the whole album, dark wave goth blended with classical music and some incredible black metal vocals. This may sound pretentious or cheesy to some, but I assure you this is not the case. They pull it off with power and darkness and are utterly convincing. No guitars or drums whatsoever are used, only high quality keyboards and piano, a variety of male vocals, and a female backing vocal as well. The occasional violin and viola are used as well and they make me wish they could use a real symphony orchestra. 90% of the mood is dark, low and subdued, drawing in the gothic soul before ripping it apart with some occasional devastating shrieks. Do not expect technical or complex music at all, this is just heavy gothic moods. I detected quite a few snippets of Vivaldi used in the music and of course, this release has almost nothing to do with metal. It is not perfect; it can get lost in the background often due to the lack of dynamics and it needs a certain mood to appreciate. But overall, I enjoyed this a lot and would like to suggest a look at it. Unfortunately it will not appeal to most.
Les Tenebres Du Dehors(Holy Records - 1996)
Right at the first few seconds I knew I was in for some devastating darkness. A second operatic female vocalist was added here for some chilling duets and choir power when the males join in. And that is not the only big enhancement. The music is much more dynamic now, alternating often to extremely dramatic and bombastic movements. The black metal tortured screams are used much more often, wrecking and shredding everything in their way. And more masterful use of keyboards are present again to simulate an orchestra. The music takes you from the depths of despair and haunting darkness, to the fiery pits of hell and torture. The previous release was mostly subdued, this one is mostly devastation. But again, this is not perfect. It does get overly histrionic at times, yet this does not stop me from getting waves of chills down my spine. The genius here is in creating moods and power, not writing complex music. This one comes very highly recommended, but keep in mind that it may not appeal to you at all.
Weeping Nights(Holy Records - 1997)
A special release containing 6 out of 8 songs from Les Tenebres Du Dehors, only without the male vocals (all of them). Three new songs were added and the two missing ones from the previous album were left out simply because they didn't contain male vocals in the first place. So what is left is actually dramatic or soft classical music (good quality synths again) with beautiful female vocals, pouring out sorrow, dark desperation and even rage as only classical music can. The three new ones are quite soft and beautiful, with haunting, operatic female vocals. Some sections in the old songs do seem to be missing a foreground instrument at times, but most of the time it does fine on its own and the female vocals make up for it as well. So is this release necessary you ask and is it a worthwhile buy if you are an Elend fan? It all depends on your views on classical music and what you are looking for. If you liked music such as Mozart's Requiem then this is definitely for you. If you would like to listen to Elend's music sometimes without getting your heart ripped apart by the male shrieks, then this is also for you. Otherwise, this has absolutely nothing to do with metal and you should avoid it. I love it personally.
The Umbersun(Music For Nations - 1998)
The first intense minute made my eyeballs pop out of their sockets, then it was all torn limbs and shredded intestines from there onwards, bleeding to death slowly towards the end. Ok so I'm exaggerrating but I think you get my point. This is a horror movie of stupefying evil dimensions that is its own soundtrack. Many tracks discard the melodious content from previous releases and are left with only extreme thunderous violence or eerie malice. Rage and anguish know no bounds here, but shift towards a more somber and quiet despair in the latter half of the album. Again, no guitars or drums are used. The keyboard orchestrations are so well done here, you actually have to concentrate to set them out as electronic at times - an amazing job. Another big improvement is the addition of a huge choir (about 30, mostly female) that obviously fills the music on a grand scale. The usual Elend protean vocals are still here including the black metal style screams, only this time they are often drowned amidst the violence of the music. After all is done, the trembling silence greets you with an ominous stare, emerging from its hiding place from where it scurried to in fear. This is the pinnacle of their art with very impressive composition and experiments in sounds, and astounding sound quality. It can get very extreme and noisy though, sounding more like a horror movie that needs to be experienced rather than music, and those of you who feel they want to check this band out but have milder or more melodious tastes in music may prefer the previous album in this trilogy (Les Tenebres Du Dehors). Otherwise, this is a monument to darkness that simply has to be heard. unlike Lacrimosa that can arrange but not compose