Elagabalus is an American Avant-garde Metal band hailing from the United States. Founded in the year 2013, Elagabalus released a self-titled demo in the following year and now, in 2015, the band’s début full-length album, titled “Damnatio Memoriae”, comes to light. A friend of mine advised me to check their music because he was sure that I enjoy the crazy moods of these Americans. Therefore, I did.
Before I talk about the album, let me talk a bit about the band’s name, since I am a lover of Roman history. Elagabalus was one of the Roman emperors, having committed a huge amount of weird acts, even for the standards of that period. Some consider him the most decadent emperor of Rome. According to some articles, the poet Assonius wrote that no fouler or more filthy monster ever filled the imperial throne of Rome in regard to Elagabalus. Others have defended that the accusations against Elagabalus are simple propaganda against him. If all that is said about this ruler is true, he was indeed one of the most outrageous emperors in history.
Moreover, the album’s title completely connects to the history of Elagabalus. It’s easy to know the meaning in most of the languages, that is “damnation of memory”, a punishment reserved for certain people the Romans decided to dishonour for one reason or another. Rather impressively, it involved trying to get rid of all records that the person ever existed, a posthumous denigration. The records show that the Romans were so revolted against Elagabalus that he was cruelly murdered at age eighteen by members of the Praetorian Guard, while his friends were mutilated and impaled. However, as we all now, this sort of historical deletion was not only relegated to the Romans.
Now let us talk about the music… well, what we have here is an “insane”, “crazy” sound, with heavy use of bass and synths in an extreme metal environment, creating unique and interesting music that feels, much like the history of the Roman leader, decadent, depraved and vicious. They indeed transmit a sense of impurity and absurdity, the whole atmosphere of the album gives you a feeling of frenzy and alienation, but never a simple mess. Sure, we can all face different results of the listening experience, but at least to me, this is a powerful example of music that exudes chaos, madness, all constructed very well.
As I have mentioned before, Elagabalus is an avant-garde metal band, flirting more extreme metal, especially Black, being the instrumentation ultra-fast, but still well composed. The synths give a special “background” to the music, turning it more “bizarre”, almost paranoid. It is hard to describe what is going on in this release, but I can assure you that it is excellent, different and provocative. This is the type of release that I can mention my general opinions, as if go into many details I would have to type a very long review and, to tell you the truth, I dislike them. Overall, “Damnatio Memoriae” deserves to be heard and appreciated for its distinct approach to extreme metal music.
When it come to the production, I have nothing to complain about, all can be heard with no problems or difficulties, so I guess this is fine for the most of us. I invite you now to give this album a listen, as I always point out, you can do it legally via the band’s official bandcamp page, and if you happen to like what you heard, please, find a way to support Elagabalus.
Have a good day.
Album: Damnatio Memoriae (2015)
- Stygian River
- Worms of the Solar Plane
- Cheshire Cat
- March to Nether
- Shit Nightmare
- Cherubim Dipped in Poison
- Gray Hole
- The Crucified
- All Is Insane
Dustin Swanson – Bass, Keyboards
Ben Price – Drums
Andy Schmidt – Vocals
Official Bandcamp: https://elagabalus.bandcamp.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elagabalus777
All photos belong to their rightful owners.May 9, 2015