E-L-R haven’t been around for long in the grand scheme of things, forming in 2016, with their first release being in 2018, but despite their relatively short time releasing music, this does not show in the slightest.
They have displayed great deal of talent and songwriting chops on their releases so far, a demo and an album, In Splendour and Sedation, then Mænad a year later, respectively. However, with their new album, Vexier, the band have really taken a step forward and found their sound and indeed, niche, within the crowded post-metal genre.
Sure, they have that typical quiet to loud dynamic and back again in places, which is no more evident than on the very first track on Vexier, ”Opiate the Sun”. It starts with three minutes of a repeatedly, quietly strummed and clean toned guitar before bursting into a sludgey riff that the best of the genre would be proud of, if they were fortunate enough to have written it.
What really sets E-L-R apart from the rest though, is their clean, hypnotic and repeated female vocals. Yes, they are low down in the mix, but this helps immensely with the way they pull you into the songs and once they’ve got you, you’re absorbed for the rest of the album, in an almost dreamlike state.
However, they don’t just limit themselves to one style, because on the next track, ”Three Winds”, they open with a fast, tremolo picked riff and drums to match, sounding almost like black metal before bringing things back down to a slower pace and more immense riffs to nod along to.
”Seeds”, the shortest song on the album, at just under 7 minutes, moves the album along perfectly, opening with a catchy bass line that you could hum along to for days, before the song opens up and the guitars and drums join the fray. ”Fleurs of Decay”, comes in hard next, with a heavy refrain that repeats throughout most of the song, only making way for another, to return towards its end.
The album closes with the longest song on the album, ”Forêt”, which at just shy over twelve minutes, has the fewest vocals with distorted spoken male vocals taking the lead initially before the more familiar female vocals come back into play. The distorted guitar on the track fades away and with it, the album reaches full circle, ending with another three minutes of introspective chords.
Throughout the album, E-L-R, despite forming in the Swiss-German city of Bern, take in and display a great deal of influences, with the aforementioned black metal-esque riffs, but they also make some nods to some middle- eastern sounds and rhythms, be that intentionally or not, but it certainly adds another aspect to their sound on Vexier.
All of this really makes one wonder where they’re going to take their music in the future, especially with how good this album is, which, while there is just the 5 songs, comes in at just over 46 minutes running time, does not outstay its welcome and leaves you wanting more.