Elevn – ‘Digital Empire’ (Digital Heavy Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 04:00

ElevnBonded by their affinity for all things ‘80s horror, Mathieu Roszak and Jérome Hantise formed Elevn in 2016 as a means to pay tribute to their beloved genre. By merging heavy industrial and darksynth with the sort of evocative atmosphere synonymous with early John Carpenter movies, the French duo’s music maintains a vibe of uncomplicated eeriness with a dancefloor drive throughout.


‘Seven Trumpets’ is about as unsettling an intro as they come; children’s vocals overlaid with a news broadcast voiceover lends a disconcerting ambience before the electronic beat kicks in. The looming and swelling synths of ‘Unknown 13: Golem’ brings to mind Combichrist at their most sinister, while ‘Death Commando’ culminates in an industrial crescendo that has Al Jourgensen written all over it. The most effective of the solely instrumental tracks has to be ‘Only Flesh’: as the effected choral vocalizing becomes more prevalent in the mix, there’s a sense of growing dread, leading to a chilling harmonized doom riff towards the end of the song. Notable mention must also go to ‘Digital Asylum’, if only for creating the mental image of Pinhead running a nursery business.


The problem with ‘Digital Empire’ emerges when the band begins to experiment with vocals and more traditional song structures. While the aforementioned instrumental tracks showed a commendable level of progression, the four songs featuring guest vocalists are comparatively one-note. That said, the title track featuring Me And My Shadow does a good job at paying homage to Gary Numan’s solo material, while the dark 80’s pop of ‘Mayday’ is buoyed by a soaring chorus courtesy of 2grump. However, Statik G’s performance on ‘Rise Of The Leviathan’ sounds like a poor man’s Jonathan Davis, with the overall musical backdrop that’s more Static-X than NIN. The less said about ‘Midnightmare’ the better; Jared Kyle’s ill-fitting Danzig impersonation and cheesy lyrics marring an already unremarkable track.


When Elevn sticks to their tried and tested blend of electronic rock and allusions to horror soundtracks, the results are highly effective. Although some tracks have the tendency to outstay their welcome (‘Gates Of Hell’ certainly doesn’t warrant it’s seven-minute runtime), there’s no shortage of interesting ideas on the album. For the most part, the inclusion of guest vocalists proves to be a misstep, seemingly incongruous with the brooding soundscapes created by the instrumentation. It’s something of a mixed bag, but when it’s at its best ‘Digital Empire’ oozes with a retro horror atmosphere that’s worth a revisit come Halloween time.


‘Digital Empire’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.




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