Considering Elend in terms of a “band” isn’t really a helpful exercise. They’re not, effectively, and they’re at their best when not pretending to be, or at least not recalling the memory of ever having been one. “The Umbersun” is a soundtrack in need of a film – a series of musical sketches awaiting marriage with the moving image. Horror soundtracks themselves have long been a welcome diversion for the bored Metaller, and if you’ve ever enjoyed the dark delights of prime examples such as the “Omen” trilogy or Coppola’s “Dracula”, you’ll be more or less at home here.
Unlike the Bontempi-level bollocks that characterises many extreme Metal bands’ forays into the orchestral pit, “The Umbersun” sounds like it might actually have been in the proximity of some musicians and a choir at some point. Of course, all this talk of incidental music and film scores may not do justice to the concept(s) or vision being laid out here, with their dramatisation of inverted Catholic liturgy. The basic moods vary from haunting to apocalyptic, although the overall feel of the pieces is very similar. For this reason, “The Umbersun” probably lends itself better to background atmosphere as opposed to hard-core, beer-fuelled group listening, which is no great crime – each has its place, after all.
Terrorizer May 1998