By Elysian Born
Elysian Born have the art of the introduction nailed: each song on this EP promises some taunt heavy metal muscle with a spot-on opening thirty seconds, and then completely loses the plot and throws everything at the listener in its quest for heaviness.
EP-opener 'Magisterium' opens with a heavy metal swagger that oozes confidence, and a quirky riff that carves back and forth across a fierce blastbeat drum line. Then, it all goes a bit wrong as 'Magisterium' explodes into a melee of multi-layered deathcore vocals, voiceovers and riffs that tumble and tear at one another like a bag full of angry cats. Strain, and you can make out a whisper of those tight opening riffs, still sawing relentlessly away beneath all the raging. Elysian Born should have made more out of the bull's-eye starting point, instead of flinging everything in their arsenal at the listener, just because they can.
'Black Slate' and 'Curse Your Name' both set out to tingle your spine, with softly-softly introductions that seep menace. 'Curse Your Name' is a witch's brew of disembodied voices and eerie echoes of guitar, but the rest of the track is hit-and-miss. At its worse, the galloping deathcore feels like a lot of energy expended for very little impact, but there are moments where Elysian Born focus and, for once, the many punches this band throw all fall in the same direction, and it's terrifying. After setting your flesh crawling with its opening notes, 'Black Slate' follows in a similar fashion to 'Curse Your Name.' When Elysian Born take charge of the racket they're creating, this beast stomps along at a measured pace, where each carefully-controlled boom of the guitar is loud enough to make your teeth shake. Elsewhere, less would still have been more but, like 'Curse Your Name,' this is a step in the right direction.
'The Righteous' is also guilty of piling on the heavy metal trappings without any clear sense of direction: the vocalist bellows, the blastbeats blur away in the background and the riffs gallop and squeal out stylish highs, but 'The Righteous' is at its most marrow-chilling when Elysian Born blast out a single, taunt riff that rumbles through your ear drums right down to your bowels. However, the occasions when they reign in this beast a little, are few and far between.
Elysian Born are able to make an impressive racket, but having everyone and everything screaming at full volume, does not automatically equal heaviness. A fearsome roar of an EP, but this feels like it's roaring and raging in every possible direction, and that's never going to be as frightening as when it's aimed directly at you.