Elffor
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New to me, Elffor is the long running side project of a Spaniard by the name of Eöl, who also plays keyboardist in Numen and Suffering Dawn. He has been releasing albums since 1998, and this expansive 2 disc compilation from South Korea’s Fallen Angels Productions covers all 6 albums and throws in a couple of new/unreleased tracks to boot.

So what style is Elffor might you ask? Well, to put in bluntly they were/are a cheap Summoning knock off; Tinny guitars, lots of medieval ish synths and some pained rasps. Not a top notch Summoning mind you like Caladan Brood, but certainly an OK and if anything, productive one. And fans of Summoning could do worse than the 2 hours of like minded music found on this album.

From what I gather, the project started as more of an ambient dungeon music act more akin to Mortiis, and the first track, “The Threshold of the Unknown Kingdom” taken from the 1998 debut Into the Dark Forest… cements that with a pure, ambient keyboard track. However, the second track “Hidden in the Nebular Landscapes” from Eöl’ second 2002 effort, Sons of Shades adds a drum machine, some guitar and blackened shrieks, and the Summoning sound appears to be fully in place.  There is then a bit of a jump as the next track “Zhenon basotik haratago” is from Elffor’s most recent 2012 album Heriotz sustraiak, and at 14 minutes it shows a more developed balanced sound more focused on tremolo picked guitars, even though the heavily ambient synth backdrops is still present. It’s not going to be mistaken for any form of top notch black metal, but it certainly has some symphonic allure in its atmospherics.

“Dark Endless Flames” returns to Sons of Shades, and thusly a much more heavy Mortiis like ambient/instrumental plod and march with some chants to boot. The next track, the 13 minute “Frostbitten Forest” is an unreleased/new track has several minutes of ambient keys and FX before the guitars, drum machine and bass kick in with some decent riffs and blackened energy, being more more traditional, early Emperor/Dimmu Borgir/Ancient symphonic black metal sound that was heard on Heriotz sustraiak. Two tracks, “Mysterious Dawn ” and Ancient Rebirth”  from 2004’s From the Throne of Hate round out disc 1 with the most Summoning like pace and delivery, the latter being a purely ambient folky number.

Disc 2 starts with “Kateek loturik…” from Heriotz sustraiak, so the sound by now is pretty expected; a long atmospheric intro followed by some solid symphonic black metal with a bit of an Eastern European/pagan scene vibe. The Mortiis sound of the debut is revisited once again for “Chaos Reigns….”, but then we get two tracks k from 2006s Unblessed Woods,”Farryanth” and “Hondamena”, and this might be my favorite track as it has a pretty darn epic, if Summoning cloning mid section I really enjoyed. Another unreleased track “Desphas”, a pretty terrible doomy, Casio sounding track and the lone track, from 2010s Frostbitten Pain, “Gaua”, close out this extensive compilation that’s focuses on the history and music of the band as there is little in the linear notes and booklet other than lyrics and credits. 

If you have not heard Elffor and enjoy Mortiis and Summoning, this is a pretty good spectrum of the band’s sound and history in one collection, just don’t expect anything as good as Summoning, but simple, effective homage from a guy that’s clearly passionate about his craft and sound.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 16th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Pascal

    What a bad comments!! EÖL is a mastermind he has created a verry deep emotions in his music,its like you walking in his forest!! Everything is really great and there a lot of fans this is really underground!! EÖL lives in the Mountains of baskenland spain. Its is not a rip off Summoning! Its better than Summoning not worse!

    I really high recommend al work from ELFFOR!!

    I really not agree with this review!! I am a big fan of ELFFOR!! Hail EÖL Hail ELFFOR!!


  2. Commented by: Vasko

    I completely agree with Pascal’s statement. Elffor is a genious, an underrated gem if you will. Of course he is better than summoning!


  3. Commented by: Mindaugas

    could not agree more with the other 2 guys, what a waste of reviw. Summoning failed to impress me, but Elffor is a piece of arts, divine arts.


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