The Elysian Fields - _12 Ablaze_
(Black Lotus, 2001)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
Back in its day, _12 Ablaze_'s predecessor _We... the Enlightened_ [CoC #35] greatly impressed me with its creative flair, stirring orchestral melodies and intense metallic passages. Recently, the news of a new album by the Greeks caught my attention. The prospect of a superior follow-up to _We... the Enlightened_ was definitely enticing, and my hopes for _12 Ablaze_ ran very high. In hindsight, they shouldn't have. I had hoped for a similar style to _WtE_, which is the case; and for a level of quality at least equal to it, which is unfortunately not the case. I am unsure what caused the band to leave Earache's Wicked World sub-label after just one album (especially since it was such a good record) and sign with their countrymates Black Lotus. Whether or not their budget for recording _12 Ablaze_ suffered from this change I cannot say, but the orchestral parts all seem to still be there, so I'm assuming it didn't. Regardless of the cause, the fact is that _12 Ablaze_ fails to work on quite the level that _WtE_ did. The synth, piano, violin and cello arrangements are nicely done and combined with the slower bits and the blackened passages, but the final result is not the stirring concoction that is its predecessor. Part of the problem still lies on the very obviously artificial drums, but that's something _12A_ shares with _WtE_. Having said that, there are still some damn good sections to be found, but the impact simply isn't the same and I find myself wanting to go back to _WtE_ most of the time. _12 Ablaze_ is certainly not a bad record, but a band that created an album like _WtE_ should have been able to come up with a more impressive follow-up than this.

(article published 1/9/2002)

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