Review by Ivan Delint
Band: ELZ and the Cult
Label: Ampirik Records
Eylul Deniz on synths
Efe Akincioglu on the bass
I walked into this review not knowing what I was really getting into, I heard a little bit from Ken, whom only said “try this one, I think you’ll really like this”. I dug it and I said sure why not. Was I in for a SURPRISE!
I like to dive into my reviews without knowing ANYTHING about the artist, as I listen to their music I hope that they invoke a sense of wonder from me, wonder that’ll ultimately will lead me to become obsessive with knowing everything I can about them. With ELZ, It was that but in a different way, I didn’t expect myself to hold off on knowing more about them, until after the listening. I found myself so lost in their sound and only their sound that I didn’t want any other information to possibly ruin that experience for me.
Here is my journey through ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ :
Invention of Faith – Faith is a recurring word in this album, as stated before I didn’t know much about ELZ and the Cult during this listen and as I write this I really wish I had lyric book of sorts to decipher what this space journey of delicious horror was all about. Great opening track, very Mass Effect, very Muse (if you’ve heard their new album you’ll know what I mean), very She Wants Revenge.
Faith in Me -A sort of continuation from the intro track, this cyber-punk/cyber-goth, vampires in a Ridley Scott space film sound is just a perfect kind of dark. The chorus is lovely. “I have lost faith in me”… preach!
Cold War – ELZ and the Cult, keeping with the persistence of that bass synth, moves more into an aggressive industrial beat with track two. The dirty vocals that become prominent throughout the ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ make their first appearance here. The track maintains a steady darkness while still being dance floor friendly, a nice mix that’ll fit any gothic DJ’s playlists. Goth Pop indeed.
Growing Pains -Wake up! The gunshot New Order-esque drum intro coming at you from a very very dark chord progression should keep you on your feet. The vocals maintain the grime, the style however moves into a Lebanonn Hannover with Russian Utro behind the mic area. I’m loving it. This song is ready for International goth floors. Dj’s, remix this, GET AT THIS.
Die Once More – With ‘Die Once More’ ELZ and the Cult give us a break. A brief of a lull in the aggression. (As if one could say that about this album). The entire release is very industrial and literally any track could be mixed/remixed into a club banger. Creating an accessible album like that is really difficult.
Last Family Supper – The intro here is something out of a 90’s cyberpunk video game and the album, when it decides to chill, is really just sci-fi/horror space ambient suspense music. Prepping us for something killer, no doubt. The vocals once again evoke a Lebanon Hannover vibe while the drums beat like a march. The lead synth keeping it all a touch away from depressing and into real of wonder and excitement. ELZ and the Cult spoke about dying once more and again and again in ‘Die Once More’ but here he speaks about not giving up, he cannot die, he will not die and he doesn’t know why. This person is conflicted and all this conflict is fighting a cold war within his heart and mind. ELZ is the fallout. This soul is burning hot and bright within the darkness that it expresses. My favorite track thus far.
We Never Met – Moving deeper into the record, ‘We Never Met’ gives us joyful, maybe hopeful, feelings and honestly everything about this album just bleeds a sense of happy sadness. I call that life. The vocals are now touching a The Horrors vibe, something I hadn’t thought about the first couple of listens. This is a really cool track that flowed and evolved beautifully. I feel that ELZ and the Cult got the bangers that they thought everyone would like out of the way and are now exposing their true self. This is what i wanted all along and I love it. If you’ve made it this far, they reward you and it’s that journey that we as the listeners must make and upon catharsis we land a very important connection with the artist. We are no longer just listening to ELZ and the Cult, we are now experiencing ELZ and the Cult.
Dreams in Their Darkest Moments – (Interlude) Interludes are amazing, they can do so much to an album in such a short amount of time. Refresh your pallets, friends. I feel a sense of movie soundtrack from this. This band not only makes banger club hits but can, and I’d put money on this, easily find themselves soundtracking the next block buster sci-fi/cyber noir.
Gremlins – Excellent transition into Gremlins, seamless. This song gets me moving, the lyrical melody is also great. I wish for more clarity in the voice, less grime, nevertheless he’s hitting all the right spots. This track is also the best example we have of EZL and the Cults melodic range.
Manipulation – Cool drum work on track ten. It seems that every song has some new sound, tone, synth sound in it. Keeps for very interesting listening the most minimal song in the album, for sure.
The Witching Hour -We are now at song eleven and I must say the beat behind this, easily the most danceable song on this record. “In the witching hour the monsters come to play” So damn good. I have to be honest here, I started listening to ‘Psychodrama’ early in the morning here in Los Angeles. I had a nice cold dark brew. ELZ and the Cult, during the process of listening, have helped me upgrade from a dark roast coffee to a Dark Seas Mission Brewery Imperial Stout, ready to keep the death dance party going. Thanks!?
Dystopian Prayer – NIN all the way, with a tad of Vazquez’s The Soft Moon in it, the most different and experimental of all the tracks in my opinion. ‘Dystopian Prayer’ is a nice “near the finish line” song showing us what this project is capable of and perhaps what is yet to come.
Funeral of Queen Mary -Everything about this says the end. Finish line. Operatic! A Clockwork Orange! It’s epic and it’s majestic. Dark, evocative, dark pop at it’s finest. ’Psychodrama’ was a hell of an experience.
Overall this album was a powerful and diverse journey., in the way a film maker creates a story with a variety of shots and perspective ELZ and the Cult have created a musical journey that takes accessible dark pop and combines it with the challenge of raw emotion and dark sensual beauty.. It’s a broken roller coaster traversing a shattered futuristic city.. It builds, it fills, and it does not disapoint.. You need a ticket for this ride.
Post word by Ken Magerman