Elusion – The Fundamental Paradox
Elusion is a Belgian Symphonic Metal band formed in 2015. The Fundamental Paradox is their third full-length album, and like so many, it was directly impacted by the pandemic. Being forced to wait, they had longer to craft a record they really wanted, more clearly defining their sound. Using clean and harsh vocals layered in backing voices and choir-style vocalizations, they’ve designed an album with delicate orchestration woven together with heavy guitars and rhythms to build a massive soundscape.
- Evy Verbruggen – Vocals
- Domingo Smets – Guitars
- Frederik Van Mieghem – Drums
January 13, 2023
- In Love And War
- Science – Fiction
- From The Woods To The Water
- In Balance
- Deafening Silence
The album opens with a ripper of a riff. “In Love And War” also contains rapid-fire double kick drumming in many instrumental sections and under the harsh vocals. Frederik’s drumming matches Evy’s vocals for the most part; heavy double bass drum for the harsh vocals and more moderate tempos for the cleans. This reinforces the difference in tone and texture through the different sections. The guitars have some excellent lead work over the riff, and the bass keeps the pace with precision.
“Chiaroscuro” has a similar pace and uses a similar musical theory but alters the patterns. Here, the bass steps out much more, leading some segments. Bringing in a choir significantly upgrades the song, as does the occasional piano tones under the rhythm. All the backing voices spice up the track and give it a more epic sound.
The beginning of “Acrimonious” is a bit more melodic and sludgier simultaneously. This track has a different heaviness, something a little darker in the tones. This track hits more like a Power Metal or Heavy Metal song. Then, we get “Adversity,” a song that opens with strings and eerie vocalizations before the rhythm washes us away. The lead guitar work on this track is a little light in the mix. I would have preferred it brought out more, but that is a personal preference. These two tracks do show a good bit of the diversity Elusion will serve up over the course of the record.
Elusion stays relatively consistent with their tuning and riff structure throughout the album. The phrases differ significantly, giving each song a unique feel, but a theme/pattern remains throughout the whole thing, tying the album together nicely. One of the differences is the way the vocals are layered. On “Science – Fiction,” they overlap the clean and harsh vocals, giving the song a tense feeling, though that darker tone is balanced by some lighter keyboard tones and symphonic instrumentation. There is a really good mix of melodies on the entire record.
Folksy vocalizations open “From The Woods To The Water.” Rhythmic drums and what sounds like an accordion round out the intro before the modern instrumentation kicks in. This track sounds more Power Metal for the most part, with some nice wind instruments mixed in throughout to great effect. “In Balance” has a futuristic keyboard rhythm opening up, then goes heavy with the riff and leads over a rapid-fire drum beat. There are a lot of guitar leads in the beginning, but those fall out with the vocals, and the keys come back to beef up the composition.
“Isochronism” opens like a Power Ballad, then goes a bit more Power Metal fades back, then ends heavy. While not truly Progressive Metal in structure, this does bring in minor Progressive elements. We’ve seen some of those throughout the disc, but I notice them more here. The guitar leads are elegant, and the drums have some excellent shifts in tempo and patterning. It really gives this song a lot of character.
The disc concludes with “Deafening Silence,” one of the heavier songs on the album. The tuning just feels lower, possibly because the keys are darker and much more ominous. They use separate channels for some parts very effectively, bouncing the song back and forth in the brain. Again, they check a lot of boxes with the composition; clean and harsh vocals, heavy guitars, bombastic rhythm, and excellent keys/orchestration.
The Fundamental Paradox is Elusion’s third full-length album. It is definitely a massive undertaking that took years to complete, partially due to a pandemic turning the music world on its’ collective head. They had extra time to fine-tune, tweak, and perfect this album to their desired sound. They have a range of genres they easily flow through, making this a custom mixture of many different styles of Heavy Metal. This is their own blend, their own alloy with many different aspects which will appeal to a broad audience. This is becoming the norm in metal today, and I love how varied our world is truly becoming.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 8
- Songwriting – 8
- Production – 8
- Overall – 8.60