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Acelsia: Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

Malene Markussen (vocals & piano) and Odd HenningSkyllingstad (guitars, bass, programming and percussion) are the core members of Acelsia and here they are helped out by Bjorn Tore Erlandsen (drums) and Jorn-Arild Grefsrud (synth and upright bass). Malene Markussen, or more pertinently her voice, is the main star here. I know that this is a very obscure reference but her voice very much reminds me of Sarah Blackwood of British dance band Dubstar. I imagine that Markussen has never set foot in Halifax, West Yorkshire, but I stand by the comparison. Seek out some Dubstar and compare and contrast. I also see vestiges of Heather Nova in this record. "Up on the Roof" even appears to combine both of the aforementioned sounds.

That these are my reference points for the record it should come as no surprise that Don't Go Where I Can't Follow isn't exactly rocking out with the best of 'em but that's not to say that it isn't any good, oh no. "The Most Important Fight" is entrancing and invites vocal comparisons to the Cranberries and overall the album is really pleasant if slightly middle of the road.

Track Listing
1/ Roads
2/ Stiches
3/ Up On The Roof
4/ The Most Important Fight
5/ The Mender
6/ Blue Knell
7/ Haven
8/ Hold My Breath
9/ Before I Fall
10/ Another Day
11/ Left Alone

Added: May 16th 2013
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2095
Language: english

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Acelsia: Don't Go Where I Can't Follow
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-05-16 20:19:06
My Score:

Playing a style of melodic hard rock with a strongly melancholic and alternative edge, the Norwegian duo known as Acelsia is undoubtedly a unique asset to its country's already diverse music scene. The introverted, reflective music found on Don't Go Where I Can't Follow (the band's 2013 debut album) makes for a listen that may not be as outgoing as other melodic hard rock efforts, but is possibly more rewarding in the long run. Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is not without flaws, but it is a strong debut from this highly original duo.

The driving force of Acelsia's music is Malene Markussen's vulnerable, yet still still powerful, vocal performances - her voice initially struck me as rather shrill, but her talents have really grown on me over repeated spins. Her unique delivery sets her apart from the crowd and the melodies that she sings are almost always memorable. Although the instrumental aspect of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow takes a bit of a backseat to the sung melodies, the fret work of Odd Henning Skyllingstad is nothing to scoff at and guest musician Bjorn Tore Erlandsen rounds it off with some impressive drumming. The compositions are a bit on the formulaic side, but they're still well-executed and memorable. Generally speaking, however, it's the softer tracks like "Left Alone" and "Hold My Breath" that really grab my attention - Acelsia impress me most when they focus on gentle atmospherics and subtle dynamics, and the hard rock riffs sound rather powerless by comparison.

This fault may perhaps be due to the album's unpolished production, but in general I find that Acelsia's talent shines its brightest during its softest moments - from my perspective, the metallic riffs heard on this album can't hold a candle to the sonic beauty heard on something like "Left Alone". That isn't to say that Don't Go Where I Can't Follow's heavier moments are weak, but more to illustrate that Acelsia's music would benefit from more focus in the areas where they truly excel. As it stands, however, Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is a mightily impressive debut observation, and any fan of melancholic alternative rock and melodic hard rock won't be disappointed by what Acelsia has to offer!

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