Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Silent Elegy-Gone with the Wind

The Metal Archives random album generator is at it again, and this time, China gets to be the country of origin, as they produce a symphonic metal band called Silent Elegy. Having just been around for three years, there isn't a lot to go on other than what is posted on the band's facebook page plus Metal Archives. However, here is what is known, as written via their facebook page: their lyrical themes are about love and redemption, and their musical style can be best described along the lines of Epica, After Forever, and Nightwish, which read correctly, is symphonic female fronted metal. Of course, there is also the guttural male vocals included in the mix, so comparing them to Sirenia isn't a major stretch. Without any previous albums of any kind to go off of, Silent Elegy goes head first into the foray with their debut Gone with the Wind.

Silent Elegy isn't the first symphonic metal band in existence, but they are the first to use it in the purest sense, meaning it isn't combined with another sub-genre such as death or black metal. Gone with the Wind begins with an instrumental in "Baptism," which is utilized as a means to build up the suspense to what is to come on the album. "Reborn" opens with chiming bells that immediately leads into standard symphonic metal that places a heavy emphasis on operatics, particularly on both the usage of synthesizers and the with the vocals of 李晓宇. One of their first singles "Valkyrie" is next, and it has a habit of reminding the listener of Tarja-era Nightwish, as the music tends to be grand in overall sound while the vocals provide their own air of grandiosity. The guttural male vocals make an appearance for the first time on the album with "Indelible Memory," a song that begins with a piano intro that would fit in on some of the better symphonic metal songs out there. While it isn't strong enough on the song to offset the female vocals, it does break a sense of monotony that threatened to overtake the album. A brief piano interlude in the song provides some of the best moments on the song, as it takes over and provides much of the atmosphere there. "Never Meet Again" is the longest track on the album and is also the only one that clocks in over the five minute mark. It is here that the vocals get tested, particularly towards the end, where she has to hit the high notes, to some success. The other single from the album "Furthest Distance" has one of the better uses of symphonics, but it becomes clear that Silent Elegy has work to do to get better. Vocal range can always be improved, but variation in the tempo of the music would greatly serve Silent Elegy well, as it seems that the songs tend to sound the same after a few listens. It isn't until "In My Dreams" that the variation that had been sought finally comes to light, as the band slows things down a little, though the bombast factor does surface towards the middle of the song. Included on the album is a symphony version of "Redemption," something that could undoubtedly improve the band's overall repertoire with a little more use.

Silent Elegy is still new to the metal scene, and given that they are one of the first Chinese symphonic metal bands, there is bound to be room for improvement. On Gone with the Wind, they show considerable talent that will serve as a foundation for future work. The things they need to work on, such as vocal range and more song tempo variations, are all things that can be fixed in time. For now, they are on to something, and Gone with the Wind should serve as a jumping off point to what should hopefully be a record deal in the future.

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