Eleine – Dancing in Hell (Black Lodge)

Thursday, 19th November 2020
Rating: 9/10

Continuing to march ahead with a gothic/symphonic template that sits head and shoulders above their peers, Eleine returns with their third full-length effort in Dancing in Hell. It could be said that the format isn’t much different than what worked for the band on the excellent Until the End, but when it already functions quite properly, it’s just a matter of tweaking here and there. To that end, Dancing in Hell delivers all of the bombast and extra flourish necessary, and leaves the listener in a rousing cheer.

Eleine’s biggest strength continues to be that, as a band, they are strong all across the board, instead of focusing all of their energy on the vocals and synths. Of course, the band has these two fronts covered, with Madeleine Liljestam pouring in some soothing yet captivating performances on each track, pairing effectively with growler/guitarist Rikard Ekberg, without the formula becoming stale. The second piece, the synths, feel even larger with this release and aid in creating a more potent atmosphere but the important thing, is that it’s not where all of the band’s melodies stem from. Eleine can get delightfully heavy at times, while keeping a tone that won’t eschew the genre’s usual fans. “Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.)” captures this feeling, with a storming introduction that utilizes both the synths and riffing to maximum extent, and brings in some punchy grooves on the track’s second half. The title track also works in creating some driving riffs to entice the listener, and wisely lets Liljestam contribute some vocals here too, instead of relegating her only to the melodic moments, generating a nice contrast to the more saccharine feel of the chorus. That all said, they can still capture a genuine goth/symphonic stride with a song like “Ava of Death,” which is one of the band’s strongest tracks to date, with a high-flying cinematic chorus that still weaves in a great solo and punchy riffing – simply an all-around winner that fans will cherish.

Dancing in Hell revels in all of Eleine’s previous strengths and gives them an occasionally heavier and more cinematic flair. The continued emphasis on crunchy riffing is appreciated, and it helps to provide the melodic side of the band with a greater sense of urgency and contrast. The end result is a frequently striking spectacle that oozes a gothic romanticism and thundering heaviness with equal glee. An addictive combination.

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