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Crossover Prog • France

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Elend biography
Founded in 1993 by composers and multi-instrumentalists Iskandar Hasnawi (France) and Renaud Tschirner (Austria), joined by keyboard player, programmer and engineer Sébastien Roland in 1997, ELEND have gathered around them various musicians in the course of their existence: violinist David Kempf (2000-present), the sopranos Eve-Gabrielle Siskind (1994-1995), Nathalie Barbary (1995-2003), Esteri Rémond (2003-present) and Laura Angelmayer (2005-present).

The completion of the Officium Tenebrarum (or Office des Ténèbres, 1993-1998), ELEND's highly acclaimed, very dark and violent trilogy, was followed by a hiatus of several years, where the composers turned to other, non-public musical projects.

ELEND resurfaced with Winds Devouring Men in 2003, the first part of a new sequence of albums. This work saw them take a quieter turn, soft and delicate strings were organically intertwined with exotic tones and harsh metallic textures and sounds inspired by French musique concrète. On their next album, the furious and dark Sunwar the Dead (2004), the composers combined their talent for large and dense orchestration with the most extreme experiments of the musical avant-garde of the XXth century.

Their latest album A World in Their Screams, which completes their ?Winds Cycle? trilogy, was recorded with 30 instrumentalists and vocalists. The new compositions follow the long epic prose poem which also served as the foundation for the previous two parts of the ?Winds Cycle?, combining personal themes with references to ancient Greek authors. Techniques from the musical avant-garde are tied together with a massive use of electronics and experiments with the human voice; microtonality, sonorism and musique concrète are fused with the post-Romantic instrumentation that is still intrinsically linked to ELEND?s musical identity.

Difficulties in producing this unprecedented type of music led to a deferral of the initially scheduled release date. The earliest draft of the album, contemporaneous with Sunwar the Dead, was modified several times: when the recording sessions had to be postponed the album was merged with the work in progress for the abstract and violent ELEND side-project ENSEMBLE ORPHIQUE. Since techniques had to be invented and developed in order to master such an uncommon sound, ELEND?s intensive and unusually long-lasting work on this album fostered a further radicalisation in composition and production: the result surpasses even t...
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ELEND discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

ELEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.30 | 5 ratings
Leçons de Ténèbres
3.19 | 9 ratings
Les Ténèbres du Dehors
3.25 | 7 ratings
Weeping Nights
2.88 | 7 ratings
The Umbersun
3.43 | 7 ratings
Winds Devouring Men
4.00 | 5 ratings
Sunwar the Dead
4.40 | 5 ratings
A World in Their Screams

ELEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ELEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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ELEND Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Leçons de Ténèbres by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.30 | 5 ratings

Leçons de Ténèbres
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by kluseba

1 stars I happen to like some dark ambient stuff in the key of the gothic orientated bands such as Rosa Crux or Die Verbannten Kinder Evas but what Elend offers on their first studio output is unwillingly ridiculous. The band name is German and means misery. This effort is indeed miserable.

The songs are all slow paced tracks with terribly artificial keyboard sounds, random violins without much inspiration and a couple of piano melodies. There is not much development in the single tracks and it's all very slow and repetitive. This creates a hypnotizing atmosphere and could fit to a soundtrack of an adaptation of a visual novel or an experimental film noir but with nearly one hour of running time and without visual support the whole thing gets quite boring.

The worst thing is though the limited blackened screams that rather make me laugh instead of adding a creepy atmosphere. The narrative clean vocals are already better but not quite diversified on the other side. The female vocals are randomly included in most of the tracks add nothing interesting to the whole concept apart of including another worn out stereotype of the gothic ambient genre.

This music might actually gain some value for dark romantic nights with your dearest or on a cold autumn day but I would still go for some other similar records then. The best track is probably "Eclipse" with its appeasing clean male vocals, fitting piano melodies and not too bad sounding keyboard passages. This song would actually be quite good if there were not once again these ridiculous blackened screams in the last thirty seconds or so. As most of the other tracks even contain more of this garbage at earlier points of the songs, this track is my favourite one on the album. Some other songs include no blackened vocals but simply make me fall asleep and lack of any innovation.

The worst song is probably the heavily stereotypical and boring album closer "The Emperor". At that point I didn't care anymore and skipped this piece of trash when I was three minutes or so into this overlong song.

In the end, I would suggest you to stay away from this album and go for some musically similar acts such as Autumn Tears or even Dark Sanctuary. These bands maybe came out a couple of years later than these so called French pioneers but sounded already way better than this. If it was me, this record could have remained eternally hidden in the shadows.

Originally published on on August 10th of the year 2012.

 Les Ténèbres du Dehors by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.19 | 9 ratings

Les Ténèbres du Dehors
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 for sure

Elend from France at the time they released their second album in 1996 named Les Ténèbres du Dehors was one of the most unique and original bands in the music bussines. I remeber buying this album exactly when came out because of the excellent cover art (simply stunning)and because it was digi pack format , issued at Holy Records, knowing nothing about their music or previous album, only reading here and there that they were great and highly acclaimed world wide. Formed around 1993 by an austrian classical trained musician Renaud Tschirner and french multi instrumentalist Iskandar Hasnawi , Elend manage to gather lots of aplauses from fans in a short time. So, when I put the CD , I was blocked, I never though that they were sounding so dark, so unmetal. The music is realy literaly symphonic music, like it was in the XIX century, specialy german school as previous reviewer observe perfectly, Richard Wagner comes in mind here. The arrangements are based on string and acustical instruments with some harsh vocal parts from male side and some operatic parts from female, combined is a truly something worth investigated, Is like an orchestra playing dark medieval music. No trace of metal here, or other elemnts that remind me of this style, is pure symphonic and realy complex aswell. The album alterantes from beautiful , melancolic lanscapes to a more rough moments, when all the instruments involved realy done some fantastic parts. The horrifying and sadness of the music has no limits here. Very well played album, complicated music, not easy to digest at first or second spining, for this album is needed time to discover all the shining moments that are hidded under the surface.. And from that year 1996 , this album remain my fav Elend album, and one that I realy appreciate when I want to hear something dark with beautiful symphonic music like it was done almost 200 years before.3.5 for this album, recommened, but the listners must becareful, because is not an every day music and some of the listners might throw this album without reason if they don't dig very well the excellent parts offered here.

 The Umbersun by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.88 | 7 ratings

The Umbersun
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars A bit of a let down, this album.

Elend's three first albums were good avant-garde classical albums with some good melody lines. They dropped this melody based formula on this album and went........ on empty.

The music is still pretty heavy with classical instruments. My guess is sampled philharmonical orchestra instruments. Figure a 100 pieces strong orchestra and you get the instruments here. Add both male spoken words, male vocals and female opera vocals too. The music is very dark and claustrophobic at the same time. It is like watching a closed up flower while waiting for it to let the sun get in so the bees can do their work. That never happens on this album though. It is like an exploration of an submarine, many miles under the surface.

In short, this is a pretty mediocre album with not much going for it.

2 stars

 Weeping Nights by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.25 | 7 ratings

Weeping Nights
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Hmmmmmmm................. A bit of a quandry, this review.

Elend has completed their road to classical music and released a classical music album. Classical music with their own compositions, that is. I suspect Elend has done what a lot of goth metal bands wants to do, but not dare to do/is not allowed to do by their record labels.

How can I possible review this type of music which is so far removed from all rock'n'roll or jazz in Progarchives ? A quandry......... So I remove all conventional thinking and forthwith proceeds with the review. Classical music it is, then.

Elend's music and musical ethics, I suspect, is somber music. Funeral music, that is. And Elend can send you to your grave with this album. The music is also beautiful with the angelic opera voice of Nathalie Barbary. A classically trained opera singer, I suspect. Her voice is supported by a full philarmonic orchestra.... although I suspect samples has been used. Woodwinds, church organs and violins is the dominating instruments here. Elend is also creating a mood with their music and is getting full marks from me for the result. This is both funeral music and silent contemplation music.

The music is very good, although miles away from what I normally listens to (reviewing albums for ProgArchives is a CHALLENGE these days !). Very good music after getting over the shock, though. This is a good album, but I am not sure if I will follow Elend over to a totally classic music landscape. Check out this album if you want to explore some really weird music.

3.5 stars

 Les Ténèbres du Dehors by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.19 | 9 ratings

Les Ténèbres du Dehors
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I am almost speechless............ Almost !

Elend is back with their second album. An album that smashed all genres and ripped up the ABC of music, as understood by the metal scene. Yes, this album was released as a no-costs-spared digi pack by Holy Records and I was one of them buying it. Layout and art wise, this album is a truly great album. Everything Holy Records released back in those days were great and it was without doubts the best record label at that time. They still are one of the most interesting record labels in the world.

But what comes out of the speakers almost defies belief. Elend has been described as a neo-folk band (and Elene has been compared to Arcana) by both Amazon and someone in the metal scene. This label has stucked and it is a totally wrong label.

The music that streams out of my speakers and has prompted my workmates to close their doors to our fellow corridor is probably neo-classical or even neo-gothic. Not as in goth metal, but as in gothic classical music. There is not even a faint hint of metal here and this music has nothing whatsoever in common with rock and jazz too. This is very much music in Richard Wagner's landscape.

The music is entirely based on acoustic instruments used in classical orchestras. On the top of that, you have a lot of female opera vocals and some screaming, tortured dissonant male vocals. The latter one creates a very mentally disturbed/twisted picture of the music. A tortured soul, no less. Besides of this dissonance, the music is quite beautiful. In particular when underlined by these female opera vocals.

When overcoming the shock, the outline of some really good music appears. There is no truly great music here. But the quality is good. I understand where Elend is going here. The tortured male vocals is too disturbing to really enjoy this album to it's full. Or maybe these vocals is the strength of this album. But I still rate this album as a good album and will keep my options open to get a more positive view on this album in the coming years and decades.

3 stars

 Leçons de Ténèbres by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.30 | 5 ratings

Leçons de Ténèbres
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A new band and a new musical dimension has been introduced to ProgArchives.

Although, Elend is not as much trailblazing in today's standards as they were back in 1994 when I got this album. A very tasty digi pack, no less. This album was released on a metal label called Holy Records and did perhaps miss out on what could had been their main audience. But this album was still a pretty big hit in the sligthly confused metal scene.

How can I describe the music here ? Well, it has it's background in chamber and classical music. Goth classical music, it is best described as. But it also have a lot of goth metal in it. References are Lacrimosa and early My Dying Bride. Elend is more leftfield and far more classical than MDB and Lacrimosa. The instruments are basically the classical orchestra instruments. The screamo vocals though brings in a lot of elements from goth and black metal though. So does the female vocals too.

What Elend is doing on this album is an aquired taste and far too radical for most of ProgArchives many followers. This album is a good album, but only that. I get the feeling Elend was still looking for the magical twists on this, their debut album. This album is one of the strangest albums the metal scene has ever spawned and it also opened up the scene's eyes for classical music too.

This is a good beginning of Elend's discography....... and that's it.

3 stars

Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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