Elysian Fields

Suffering G.O.D. Almighty

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Suffering G.O.D. Almighty is the fourth offering from Greece's Elysian Fields -- not to be confused with the American alterna-rock band of the same name fronted by Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow. As such, the Fields takes their blend of symphonic, black, and death metal and weaves it all into something utterly dynamic; a bleak and catchy evil brew. Their new placement on the great Black Lotus label in Athens, Greece is an indication of their stature. This band can write songs that go beyond the riff into something melodic, nasty, and overblown, though their production standards are higher than most. Here are poetically dreary and malevolently rendered tomes of creation, destruction, gods, possession, spiritual, earthly, and subterranean warfare. They have Cookie Monster vocals like most of these bands do, but at least the lyrics are decipherable; one need not read the lyric sheet to decipher them. The set purposely takes a little while to get moving, but once it does, the pace is unrelenting. Track three is the title cut. A two-note piano line introduces a simple synth line (all the synth lines are simple) that acts as the melody frame, and when the guitars kick in, power chords set the pace before the riffs kick in and then all hell literally breaks loose as black metal and symphonic vie for power in the mix. By the time they reach "Ravished with Thee Light," it's all over the top, burning, churning metal filled with aggression but also loss, grief, and tears -- the tears of an unholy war. Check the emotional "All Those Tristful Winters," where the keyboards lines intertwine with the riffing and propel it along the line to disintegration. The synth and piano breaks do nothing to alleviate the tension; in fact they heighten it considerably. Though it took a few years, Suffering G.O.D. Almighty was well worth the wait.

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