Elijah’s Mantle – Breath of Lazarus

Elijah’s Mantle is one of my favourite acts for some time now. I quite like their bombastic neo-classical music, with ritual chorals and nice, often romantic esthetics. So I was curious what Mark St. John Ellis was up to this time. “Breath of Lazarus” is not really a new album, but it contains older material which has been reconstructed. You can’t call it really remixes, more a new creation made with used parts. If you are a Elijah’s Mantle fan, you can play the game of recognizing the sound sources.

This cd contains four long tracks, simply called part 1 to 4. The first part is mostly dominated by original drum and bass patterns and the repetive grave vocals of Mark St. John Ellis, indeed creating a trancelike effect, as was the intention. Part 2 starts more tranquil, based around the declamation of ‘Sanctus’. After a few minutes some unexpected modern beats enter the sacred sonic room, with a surprising danceable effect, which is further enhanced by the addition of other rhythms and eastern percussion. Towards the end the vocals of St. John Ellis and Brendan Perry return. Really a fine track.
The third part starts as an experimental soundscape, but soon an uptempo beat takes over. Noteworthy are the contributions of tenor and counter tenor voices, which create a good working combination of chorals, orchestral elements and electronic beats. A perfect example of the powers of repetition. This is what should be played in modern churches, I’m sure they would gain new souls then… The final part starts with some French spoken word. Then the well-known vocals of the classic song ‘Animus Anima’ set in, with a nice orchestral accompaniment, which gets really bombastic as the song progresses. This is perhaps the most ‘traditional’ Elijah’s Mantle track of the album, though towards the end the songs gets more rhythmic.

Quite an interesting experiment, especially worth hearing if you are a lover of the work of Elijah’s Mantle. The ritual, sacred feel that their music already possesses is further enhanced here. Though it’s certainly a worthwhile and recommended album on its own, I nevertheless advise newcomers to this bands to start with some older releases, like ‘Sorrows of Sophia” or “Angels of perversity”.

artist: Elijah’s Mantle
label: World Serpent
details: 4 parts