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Elis: Griefshire

Earlier this year, the tragic news spread the metal world that Elis' lead singer, Sabine Dunser, had passed away suddenly due to a brain hemorrhage upon the completion of her vocal tracks for the band's latest release Griefshire. In her honor, the band continued on and completed the album, finishing up "her baby" as she was calling the album early on during the writing and recording process. Listening to the CD, one gets a real feeling of sadness that this talented singer is no longer with us, as she really shines throughout Griefshine, an album of stunning gothic metal that also has elements of prog, death metal, and ambient styles. A song like "Brothers" shows the many sides of this band, with Sabine's soaring vocals flying over crushing riffs, symphonic keyboards, and the occasional male death metal growls. On a couple of songs Sabine sings in her native German, but her voice is so lovely that you almost don't even notice that she isn't singing in English. The guitar work of Pete Streit and Christian Gruber is crunchy & crisp throughout, as they add plenty of bombastic riffs, wild pinch harmonic squeals, and melodic solos to songs like "Remember the Promise", "Tales From Heaven or Hell", and "Phoenix From the Ashes". If you like tender piano ballads, check out the gorgeous "How Long", a stunning piece featuring Sabine's soaring vocal melodies, keyboards, and a tasty guitar solo.

Somewhere, Sabine Dunser is watching her former band Elis, and hopefully is feeling proud of the work she and they did on Griefshire, a gothic metal concept piece that proved to be her final contribution to music. We can now all celebrate her life through this music, which is probably how she would have wanted it.

Track Listing
01. Tales from Heaven or Hell
02. Die Stadt
03. Show me the Way
04. Brothers
05. Seit dem Anbeginn der Zeit
06. Remember the Promise
07. Phoenix from the Ashes
08. How Long (other Version on Digipack)
09. Innocent Hearts
10. Forgotten Love
11. The Burning
12. A new Decade
13. Heaven and Hell (Bonus on Digipack)

Added: January 31st 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Elis Website
Hits: 4127
Language: english

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Elis: Griefshire
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-01-31 09:36:10
My Score:

I may never review a more aptly titled album than Elis' Griefshire. The title of the German band's third CD was likely already in place for this story of two brothers' religious fanaticism, their search for salvation and their desire to know both truth and love. But with the remaining four band members reeling from the sudden death of frontwoman Sabine Dünser shortly after the completion of her vocal tracks, the title — and the music on this 12-song opus — takes on added meaning.

The album opens with the haunting "Tales From Heaven or Hell," featuring a mournful choir and highlighting Dünser's understated but mature delivery. In fact, her sweet, girl-next-door voice played a pivotal role in making Elis stand out from the pack of increasingly sound-alike female-fronted metal bands. Griefshire falls into that gray area somewhere between gothic, power, symphonic and progressive metal (with an occasional foray into thick death metal). The presence of strings enhances the mood of several songs, but it is "Innocent Hearts," with its heavy onslaught of power chords clinging to Dünser's vocals, that will make listeners realize what the next Elis album will be missing.

Here's to Dünser's afterlife — and the rest of the band's future …

Elis: Griefshire
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-19 07:20:38
My Score:

Despite the resounding majesty and power on this CD one cannot help but feel an uncomfortable level of sadness while listening to Griefshire; the newest release by the Liechtenstein based band Elis. These feelings come from the tragic news about the bands lead singer Sabine Duenser, who was taken from the music world by a cerebral hemorrhage just shortly after completing her vocal tracks for this album. Instead of halting the recordings process the remaining members decided to complete and release it for it was a body of work that Sabine felt very close to and often referred to as "her baby". It is now presented posthumously in both her memory and her honor and it's a decision that I feel the larger Metal world will be very grateful for. The album on the whole is a tasty piece of music with many hooks and wonderful melodies. There is so much potential for greatness on this album and it is a shame that Sabine will not be able to take part in any of it except in sad reverence. The listener will agree especially when they hear the single worthy track of "Show Me The Way". This is a song that mixes levels of Pop sensibility along with a Melodic Gothic edge and is one of the staple tracks in my opinion. With "Innocent Hearts" the group surely has another winner that one can envision being the highlight of any live performance based on the driving riff and powerful chorus. There are also quite a few heavy instances on the album such as the opening track – the thundering "Tales From Heaven Or Hell", as Sabine sings of the two Brothers that the albums storyline is based on. There is a little bit of concept to this recording but at the end of the day it all comes down to some very inspired material which the group can be proud of. The musicians in the band are Pete Streit (guitar), Tom Saxer (bass), Christian Gruber (guitar), and Max Nascher (drums). Musically speaking these guys show some great skills across the disc and this intelligent Metal that they display is brought to a little extra fullness based on the classical arrangements and string elements that are present here as well. If you are a fan of female fronted Metal groups this is one album that you should look into as even the novice to the band and their story can appreciate the work they did here.

Elis has decided to continue as a band and bring the music that Sabine helped bring to life while she was able to. This is a good thing for I think that somewhere above Ms. Duenser smiles down on her former band for not throwing in the towel in the face of such dire adversity and instead had chosen to press on. Let this release serve as a requiem for a talent that shone brightly and was taken far too soon. Hails! Sabine, may you rest in peace and may your music live forever in our hearts.

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