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ELEND

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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Buy ELEND Music


Sunwar the DeadSunwar the Dead
Import
Prophecy Records 2006
Audio CD$7.45
$16.49 (used)
Winds Devouring MenWinds Devouring Men
Import
Prophecy 2006
Audio CD$104.50
$4.98 (used)
UmbersunUmbersun
Import
Mfn 1998
Audio CD$10.98 (used)
Les TenebresLes Tenebres
Import
Holy Records France 2007
Audio CD$72.44
$36.36 (used)
World in Their ScreamsWorld in Their Screams
Import
Prophecy Records 2007
Audio CD$9.41
$8.82 (used)
Weeping NightsWeeping Nights
Import
Holy Records France 2006
Audio CD$19.88
$17.95 (used)
Lecons De TenebresLecons De Tenebres
Import
Holy Records France 2008
Audio CD$26.29
$11.20 (used)
Sunwar the Dead by ELEND (2006-09-04)Sunwar the Dead by ELEND (2006-09-04)
Prophecy Records
Audio CD$37.74
The Umbersun by Elend (2010-08-10)The Umbersun by Elend (2010-08-10)
METAL MIN2
Audio CD$58.46
World in Their Screams by ELEND (2007-05-07)World in Their Screams by ELEND (2007-05-07)
Prophecy Records
Audio CD$44.74
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ELEND discography


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

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

2.20 | 8 ratings
Leçons de Ténèbres
1994
2.80 | 12 ratings
Les Ténèbres du Dehors
1996
3.25 | 7 ratings
Weeping Nights
1997
1.89 | 10 ratings
The Umbersun
1998
2.37 | 8 ratings
Winds Devouring Men
2003
2.40 | 6 ratings
Sunwar the Dead
2004
3.28 | 6 ratings
A World in Their Screams
2007

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

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

ELEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ELEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ELEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A World in Their Screams by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.28 | 6 ratings

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A World in Their Screams
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A World In their Screams is the final Elend album, their final planned five-album arc being contracted so this third piece covers all the ground they wanted to cover in parts three to five of the series. This is somewhat to the album's benefit, because it forces them to trim the fat and condense their ideas somewhat, It also has the highest production values, to my ears at least, of any of their material, which is a bit of a help. It's probably the most rounded of the Elend albums, though the Art Zoyd-esque excursions from the previous release seem to have been dialled back, which is a bid of a shame.
 Sunwar the Dead by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.40 | 6 ratings

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Sunwar the Dead
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Did someone slip Elend an Art Zoyd album in between Winds Devouring Men and this one? I ask because the anxious, rhythmic pulsating of several of the compositions on here puts me in mind of the avant-garde chamber prog orchestral nightmares that Art Zoyd produce. It's an interesting twist to Elend's sound which makes this perhaps the most interesting of their albums for me, but let's not get confused here - it isn't such a dominant aspect of their formula here that it drags the album all the way into avant-prog territory, and I'm still not convinced the rest of their recipe is really strong enough to hold my interest.
 Winds Devouring Men by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.37 | 8 ratings

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Winds Devouring Men
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Winds Devouring Men kicks off Elend's second trilogy of thematically-connected albums, and it's evident right from the get-go that they spent the five years between The Umbersun and this album extensively retooling their sound. The death growls on previous albums are scaled right back, and there are more clean male vocals, and musically the influence of Dead Can Dance - never enormously far away in darkwave material like this - is dialled right up.

In fact, that's kind of the problem - the band seem to slip back very easily into merely offering up a cheap pastiche of Dead Can Dance, perhaps hoping to win over fans of the superior band during that group's long hiatus. Unfortunately, they clone Dead Can Dance's sound well enough to make me think "Hey, this sounds a bit like Dead Can Dance", but not well enough to make me think "I will continue listening to this because it sounds a bit like Dead Can Dance" - instead, I just think "Eh, I'll just listen to Within the Realm of a Dying Sun again instead".

 The Umbersun by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1998
1.89 | 10 ratings

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The Umbersun
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Ugh, seriously? The melodic underpinnings of their quasi-orchestral sound were what made the better moments of the previous few Elend albums work to the extent that they did, so the extent to which they are played down here in favour of ambient orchestral groaning is disheartening. The idea of orchestral-ambient darkwave isn't a terrible one, but the execution here is a bit of a disaster.

Ambient music does tend to sound a bit samey, granted, but the trick to writing a good ambient track is making it sound intentionally so, and to somehow grasp the secret of making it nonetheless feel satisfying in its own right: when your composition ends up sounding like the extended intro to a song which never actually quite manages to get started, you know that you've made a pretty serious misstep, and that's exactly how Elend come across here.

To make things even worse, the death growls and shouted vocals are even more incongruous and risible here.

 Les Ténèbres du Dehors by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.80 | 12 ratings

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Les Ténèbres du Dehors
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The second album by Elend is essentially a somewhat more polished take on the first. The same general approach applies here - melancholy neoclassical darkwave music with the "classical" part of that genre's mix of influences cranked up to 11, with the occasional outbreak of sinister roars upstaging the clean vocals and trying to add a sort of spooky, scary ambience to proceedings. And like the previous album, it just doesn't quite come together for me, though comes closer to doing so than the debut did. Yes, it's quite well produced, with the keyboards emulating an orchestra really quite effectively, and there's some pretty moments, but it's also deeply unmemorable.

You could almost forgive it were it going for a more ambient approach, but that seems rather incompatible with the death growls that litter the album. Worse, whenever the growling starts the effect is not foreboding but simply a little comical, rather undermining the intended atmosphere of the compositions. The end result is an album where I am rather more sure that Elend know what they are doing than the somewhat muddled debut - but where I am even more convinced that I'm not especially interested in what they are doing.

 Leçons de Ténèbres by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.20 | 8 ratings

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Leçons de Ténèbres
Elend Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A rather odd little debut, wavering between majestic neoclassical darkwave like a more orchestrally-focused Dead Can Dance on the one hand and some sort of weird attempt at death metal dungeon synth on the other, with the combination of occasionally cheap-sounding keyboards and slightly unconvincing screamed vocals providing the dungeon synth and death metal components respectively. The album is far more successful whenever shouting is refrained from and gorgeous soprano vocals issue forth instead. The consensus seems to be that subsequent albums are better, and whilst there's supposedly a conceptual trilogy at work here I suspect you wouldn't miss out on a whole lot if you skipped this.
 Leçons de Ténèbres by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.20 | 8 ratings

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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 www.metal-archives.com on August 10th of the year 2012.

 Les Ténèbres du Dehors by ELEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.80 | 12 ratings

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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
1.89 | 10 ratings

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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

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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

Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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