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Elitefitrea - Lethe [review]
Katarzyna Draconina Górnisiewicz | Detailed or mini-review submissions: song, EP/album | Suggest an artist
Elitefitrea - Lethe (album review) |self-released, 2020|

1. Acheron, 2. Double Down, 3. Lethe, 4. Homage, 5. Dissolution, 6. Cerberus, 7. Too Late, 8. Pitchforks, 9. The Center

Elitefitrea is a solo project by a multi-instrumentalist Bryan Day, a man of many life experiences ranging from Marine Corps military service, through time in prison, to pacifism and creative freedom. As you may guess, Lethe is based on the concept of venturing deep into the psyche, to focus on the shadow and to deal with it though self-therapy in the form of expressive music, and all art-making allows for. It borrows a theme from Greek mythology. To quote Bryan: "Lethe is a tour through the underworld. The Lethe is a river in Hades that, when drank, causes one to forget the memories of their mortal life on Earth. This album explores society through the symbolism of Lethe, observing the abandonment of former ideals by the thinking classes, as if they had drank from the river Lethe themselves." The musician was inspired by freedom, fairness, prison reform, mental health awareness, philosophy, and history.

Now, let’s talk music. This is an album filled with reflection and atmosphere. Every song calls for listeners’ attunement and puts them in a dreamy state of trance thanks to slightly stretched but fresh arrangements where the singer’s voice could be considered another instrument. Vocals were added after the instrumental lines were written first, so that could be the result of the production process. Sonically, the music on the album consists of electronic tracks with the overall vibe similar to the 2000’s Nine Inch Nails’ music, though Bryan mentions Radiohead, Goldfrapp, and Beck as well as jamming along to albums of Led Zeppelin and Metallica in the past too.

"Acheron" begins slowly and arduously. Its arrangements are based on the same tempo throughout the song but heaviness is balanced with higher tunes at times. Guitars, drums, synths, and vocals create a neatly spiraling mix which gradually elevates tension and suggests there’s an inner strength in everyone to overcome the darkness, and see the light at the end of the tunnel of life struggles. Other than that, the song itself is memorable and catchy. Next, we have "Double Down" with repetitions of both instrumental and vocal lines. The lyrics are not sung but rather groaned with a warm, and slightly dirty but also calm voice. The synths are broken with clicking, knocking, irregular drumming, and other sounds entertaining the ears, bringing diversity into a seemingly stalled rhythm.

"Lethe" rolls out even more slowly, like a river of tar with bubbles popping out over the dough-like surface being the only motion. Listeners will hear stretched, windy sounds and other non-invasive distractions in the background breaking the monotony. The vocals with some SFX put on top are reminiscent of monk’s chants at times.

"Hommage" is the only purely instrumental track here and is an interpretation of Claude Debussy’s piano composition "Hommage ŕ Rameau". The original piece was written over a hundred years ago and dedicated to Jean-Philippe Rameau, a French composer and music theorist. If you listen to Debussy’s original, you probably will agree that this modern 'cover', if you will, turns the composition into a soundtrack which could be utilized in an artistic short-movie.

In contrast, "Dissolution" offers bouncy dynamics and a relaxing yet motivating rhythm, catchy hooks and vocals in both stereo channels. Inspiration drawn from Trent Reznor’s music becomes quite clear here. There’s also an interesting play between the lyrics and beats. With "Cerberus" the music returns to its previous slow-mo vibe with arrhythmic and non-synchronized beats utilized for a reason, as they keep both ears engaged. The arrangements repeat at some point, but are distributed so skillfully that they still offer a lot of sonic entertainment overall. It would be great if the track was supported by a strongly digital music video with lots of glitches, delays, and other visual effects to accompany complex sound textures.

The overall mood of the album brightens and elevates thanks to "Too Late". It’s an excellent hit song to be played on a radio and a very strong representative of Lathe, as well as Bryan’s music writing skills in general. The chorus is as memorable as the verses, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
"Pitchforks" returns to the murky tones and more laborious tempo. It has a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic feel and brings some scenic images to the mind’s eye. The reviewer’s fantasy ventured into a wasteland under a red sky. There was a valley with remains attached to poles with chains swinging slowly as they parries one against another with characteristic clanging sounds. Lyrics are almost whispered with a few SFX applied making a good match with such a hellish atmosphere.

"The Center" ends Lethe. It is based on a piano and a gently pulsing rhythm for the most part. The vocals feel fragile yet somewhat tired, but the tone gets elevated at times. They are aligned to the soothing mood very well. The dynamics are non-invasive, but listeners may catch themselves nodding the head to the rhythm quite often. The last and the first track are attuned very well together, therefore nothing feels mismatched while listening to the album on rotation.

Finally, it should be said that the songs are supported by interesting lyrics written without haste. Some are rhythmic, others just aligned to the flow of music. They are mostly dark and may resonate especially well with those going through a transition, when inner demons have been dealt with.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, April 7th, 2020. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)





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