ELEANOR - Celestial Nocturne
Eleanor come from Osaka in Japan and consider themselves a melancholic gothic metal band. It would be a mistake though to dismiss this talented band as a mere gothic outfit. They see The Gathering as one of their biggest influences, and consequently took their band name from a song of the Dutch bandís album Mandylion. Two other influences are Amorphis and Nightwish. While the former makes sense, due to the melancholic nature of their music, the latter is more questionable as the Japanese donít need shrill female vocals.
Since their foundation in 2005, Eleanor had a great reputation from their start in their native country, and they have regularly released longplayers and EPs. In Europe they performed so far at some female voices festival in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2017 they signed to Mighty Music, with the hope that their third album Celestial Nocturne will make it happen for them in Europe.
Focal point of attraction with Eleanor is vocalist Shiori Vitus who has been with the band from the start. Female fronted metal has been quite the thing in Japan, with bands like Babymetal, Bridear and Love Bites heading the movement. Apart from Shiori, there is another woman on percussion and backing vocals, and four guys playing the classic rock instruments.
Celestial Nocturne has a rather quiet and inconspicuous start, but the first regular track Defying Gravity, for which the band made a video clip truly worth watching, shows what Eleanor is all about. This is also their strongest track, and the strong female vocals will mesmerise you instantly, like the sirens that caught Odysseus with their magic music in their trap. Shiori Vitusí voice is full of drama and many other emotions that will go deep under your skin. Eleanor are no stranger to Japanese stereotypes and also open for a well measured dose of kitsch. Often their music sounds like the soundtracks for anime shows or video games. Add to this a violin which helps to emphasise the melodic content of the music. There are even a few Southern European elements, like an acoustic guitar and castanets adding a Spanish flamenco flair, and the vocals at times have the emotional depth of Portuguese fado music.
The European edition of the album comes with three bonus tracks, a habit which goes usually the other way around, with European bands adding bonus tracks for the Japanese market. These are acoustic versions of tracks from the new and also older albums. They are not as compelling as the regular material though, as they are rather quiet and sound too much like folklore.
But this criticism doesnít really affect the overall great impression of the album. Celestial Nocturne is another example of how much the Japanese music scene as evolved over the last few years. If you are on the lookout for harmony, drama and some metal, you will be well served with Eleanorís new album. Itís so beautiful it will move you to tears.