ELLIPSIS - Imperial Tzadik

Ellipsis - Imperial Tzadik

11 songs
65:43 minutes
***** *****


Forgive me for being an Eighties guy, but whenever I listen these days to heavy metal, I catch myself looking for comparisons in the deep past twenty years ago, because that was the time when I spent most of my youth with that genre of music. So my first impression of French rockers Ellipsis third album Imperial Tzadik was that they sounded a lot like Anacrusis and Last Descendents, two bands they possibly never even heard of.

A look at their Myspace page shows that they are influenced by the likes of Devin Townsend, Opeth and Nevermore, which makes perfectly sense, except that Ellipsis at no moment deem it necessary to copy their masters. Instead the mysteriously named Imperial Tzadik offers more than an hour of heavy metal that is from anywhere but this world. The first thing that will overwhelm you is singer Emmanuelson's impressive vocal range, this weirdly named man truly brings a kind of soul (yes, like in soul music) back into heavy metal. Ellipsis' brutal yet melodic sound mostly wanders the path of mid-tempo rhythms, putting them maybe close to the doom metal genre, but then they are so different from all those dark-tinged goth and wave people that again you are standing their helpless when it comes to defining their sound. Yes, they are progressive, not in the Dream Theater kind of way, but with the goal of bringing heavy metal one step further into the future.

The opener Perfect Rage is one of their harder tracks, reminding me of Fear Factory without all that macho bullshit. The following title track is mellower. And from there on, Ellipsis use their remaining playing time to redefine heavy metal as if this was the easiest task in the whole wide world. I will not pick any special songs, because Imperial Tzadik must be listened to as one entity of art where the final result is much more than the sum of its parts. With most songs around six minutes long, you won't find many potential airwave candidates, but who cares? Ellipsis surprised me with this album which has been masterfully produced by Norwegian craftsman Terje Refsnes who has already a lot of experience with gothic metal bands, but still managed to give Ellipsis their very own and original sound. I have been checking now the last twelve months, and with only four weeks left in this year, I can state without hesitation that Ellipsis have released with Imperial Tzadik the best heavy metal album of the year 2006. Congratulations!

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