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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky
Format: MP3 Music|Change

VINE VOICEon January 8, 2008
This is the best album of Liechtenstein's greatest band, Elis. (Their other albums, "God's Silence, Devil's Temptation" and "Griefshire" are both worthy offerings as well.)

The band resembles other European progressive metal bands with female leads. Unlike some of those, Elis really doesn't use death growls or beauty-and-the-beast pairings of male and female voices, relying on the single female voice instead. They have a very developed, professional sound - not surprisingly, since they have worked with the excellent German progressive metal producer Alexander Krull (Atrocity, Leaves' Eyes).

Both lyrically and musically, the album explores tensions suggested by the title, with cloudy, foreboding darkness offset by clear, crisp light. For example, the second track, "Anger," plays notions of anger against metal riffs against Sabine Dunser's clear cry to "Please calm, calm my anger."

The first song ("Der Letzte Tag," "The Last Day") sets the overall tone. It's written in German, and begins and ends with spoken lines - - loosely, "It happened one day, as the sun lit up the Earth, that the people who longed after the night had their torment relieved," and at the very end, "It happened one day, and then the night finally came." In between is a classic hard rock song with driving drum and guitars with Sabine singing a description of the deathly still atmosphere of the final day. Her strong, clear voice plays well against the guitars and drums throughout that song and the album as a whole.

Musically, most of the songs are straightforward metal/hard rock, with classic song structures (with a verse/chorus, bridge or guitar solo). The drum and guitar work will remind many listeners of recent Nightwish albums, or even classic Scorpions. A few songs have a more "progressive" metal sound. "Perfect Love" is essentially a waltz that uses a series of different keys to move the song forward. "Black Angel" also uses a slow 3/4 (or fast 12/8) time but has a more driving guitar beat and some vocal harmonies and countermelodies that give it a more progressive feel.

Some reviewers have complained that the album is repetitive, or that the songs don't stand out enough from one another. I think that's a bit of a problem with Elis's other two albums, and there are perhaps some songs here that are a bit too similar ("Anger" and "Die Zeit" come to mind). Overall, however, I think this is a nicely varied album, with rockers, ballads, and some more progressive metal songs.

This is the best album of Elis's first era, as lead singer Sabine Dunser died suddenly in 2006 of a cerebral hemorrhage. She deserves inclusion in the group of top metal singers, such as Floor Jansen (After Forever), Simone Simons (Epica), Tarja Turunen (Nightwish) and Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation). She usually sings in a more "power" range (like Jansen, Turunen and van Adel), but occasionally has her voice float in the higher ranges like Liv Kristine. This is an impressive album.
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on February 19, 2017
An incredible album full of truly beautiful poetry and unique sound. Elis is my favorite band.
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on March 28, 2009
I'll sum this album up real briefly: If you don't know German, buy the songs with the German titles individually. Der Letzte Tag and to a lesser extent Die Zeit are just amazing.

Now why do I say "if you don't know German?" Because I assume that the lyrics for those songs are as painfully bad as the English tracks on this album-- though they might not be, I don't care enough to look. The point is the lyric writing is painfully bad, something not far removed from my review title WILL be in many of the songs. The vocals from Sabine sound beautiful, the guitars are plenty of hardcore shredding goodness, and it works well together... but even as someone who doesn't typically obsess with lyrics it's just too much to ignore.

Just get a couple of MP3s and be done with it unless you like the nifty butterfly cover art that much.
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on November 28, 2012
Solid album, with only a few redeeming songs. Unless, like myself, you insist on owning albums in their entirety, buy only the songs you prefer in the preview section.
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on June 14, 2006
Elis, a Liechtenstein-based 5-piece band began as "Erben Der Schöpfung" & they released their debut, "Twilight" in 2001. Vocalist Sabine Duenser and guitarist Pete Streit continued working together and Erben Der Schopfung morphed into Elis. They released their debut, "Gods Silence Devils Temptation" in 2003 to very good reviews, and quickly followed with "Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky" in February 2004. Their style of music is most often considered goth metal, but Elis incorporate electronics, doom, and rock into their music for a rather eclectic sound.

Following the path of bands like Lacuna Coil, Leaves' Eyes, Darkwell, Lacrimosa & The Gathering, ELIS is trying to find a place for themselves in the world of Gothic music, and with Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky, they succeeded in doing just that.

Let's start with the Album Cover Artwork. Vocalist Sabine Duenser says : "The picture with the butterfly is a symbol for the album title and so it is also a symbol for the message we want to give to the listener. There's this perfect butterfly, which is a picture of a real but dead butterfly- which is brutally speared on the sky. On the first look the picture just seems nice but when you have a closer look at it you see that it is not as nice as it seemed. The title Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky stands for the fact that in this world there exists nothing which is perfect. Everything, even when it seems to be perfect, has also a dark and ugly side. People only can be rich, because many people are poor. We like it when the sun shines but it has the power to burn everything. The nature can be very nice but on the other hand it can destroy lives with its power. So the title is a metaphor of our music, which also combines these dark and soft elements, and the lyrics which are about this contrast between good and bad. Also in a perfect sky there can appear dark clouds." [ from an interview with [...] (Transcending the Mundane). ]

Upon first listen to Dark Clouds in A Perfect Sky, one may get the impression lead singer Sabine Duenser might be taking one too many nods from ex-Theatre of Tragedy vocalist and current Leaves' Eyes frontwoman, Liv Kristine. When you realize Liv Kristine is also the wife of Elis producer and manager Alexander Krull, the comparison might make a little more sense.

This is not really the case, though both vocalists do share similarities in their approach. They both can, and will pull out a booming soprano when needed or lull you into a mid-tempo trance.

There are 3 tracks in the band's native language, German : Der Letzte Tag (the last day) / Ballade (ballad) / Die Zeit (it's time). The other songs are Anger / Lost Soul / Heart in Chains / Perfect Love / Black Angel / Devil Inside You / Rebirth / Are You Missing Me / Show Me Heaven (Bonus Cut on Digipak Release)..Emotions range fom anger (guess which song that focuses on... ) , to love (Perfect Love) , to something we all have tendency to do, thinking too much (Are You Missing Me).

Der Letzte Tag , the album opener is bombastic with even an epic solo from Pete Streit near the conclusion. It's just how an opening track should be. Bassist Tom Saxer is featured on a couple of songs, where his extremely capable growl lends itself to the subject matter ("Lost Soul", "Heart in Chains", "Are You Missing Me").

All in all , this was an amazing listening experience. I enjoyed each & every song. However, I found myself trailing back to Black Angel , Show me Heaven , and Perfect Love..repeating them again & again...

Overall rating of the Album : 9/10
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on April 16, 2005
I recently discovered Elis through Outburn magazine and was quickly intrigued by what I read. I was very curious to hear their new album "Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky". I'm not really big on goth metal as I once was but something about Elis piqued my curiousity. After hearing samples of the album at a local record store, I was immediately hooked on Sabine Duenser's pristine vocals and the melodic yet crunchy heavy metal guitar riffs. Sabine has a very sweet, angelic voice that is not weak nor thin. Her sweet, angelic vocals is a nice contrast to bassist Tom Saxar's gruff vocals on "Heart in Chains". I personally did not mind the occasional vocal contributions from Tom. Musically, the guitars are loud and aggressive which at times reminded me of Nightwish's recent material. All of the songs on the album are excellent. I especially loved the arrangements on the band's ballds like "Perfect Love" and "Ballade". The lyrics on the album are well crafted. The songs did not come off as contrived as a lot of songs by other goth metal bands have a tendency to sound. They are heartfelt and touching. In a sea of cookie cutter goth-metal bands nowadays Elis has risen above the rest with its sonic beauty and grace, aggression and angst. "Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky" is easily this year's best metal album.
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on July 13, 2006
I am not a big fan of heavy metal. I hated the '80s hair metal scene when I was in high school. I hated the nu metal schtick of the late '90s, early '00s. The only metal genre I enjoy is the gothic metal genre which has been around longer than Evanescence (who contrary to what some people might think, did not originate the goth metal sound...The Gathering is credited for creating the goth metal sound).

One of my favorite goth metal bands who I think have never really been recognized is the german band Elis. I discovered Elis accidently in the back pages of Outburn magazine (when it was STILL cool). I immediately went out to purchase the band's 2nd album "Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky". There is a definite resemblence of Leaves' Eyes Liv Kristine in the voice of Sabine Duenser. Both women share that same delicate voice. The music is though a lot more aggressive IMO. The aggressive guitar riffs compliments Sabine's angelic vocals. A lot of that credit goes to producer Alexander Krull (Atrocity), Liv's husband. His production abilities are immaculate. His work on Elis' album as well as with his wife's albums are perfectly crisp and clean without being overly produced.

Some of the stand out tracks on "Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky" are the ballads. "Perfect Love" and "Ballade" has that perfect combination of melody and sorrow without losing out that aggressive edge. I absolutely love working out to the aggressive track "Anger" or if I lose my temper, I often crank up this song and start taking out my anger to this song. Elis's sound may not be terribly original but they certainly know how to keep the goth metal genre from becoming bland and predictable.

It deeply saddens me to note mention this news. The heavy metal scene has lost one of its own. Elis lead singer Sabine Duenser recently passed away not even a week ago due to a cerebal hemorrage. This young woman had shown a lot of promise and had a bright future. You were loved and will be forever missed. RIP Sabine :(.
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VINE VOICEon January 25, 2006
3.5 stars

I discovered Elis completely by accident. I only bought this CD because I knew it was a female fronted the band and I thought the title of the CD was intriguing, luckily I didn't expect much on first listen. Sabine doesn't have the strongest voice you'll ever hear, she pretty much has the same vocal pattern for each song actually and the death growls, while good, don't fit at all. So a lot of the time it's the band pulling most of the weight.

My big issue with Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky is that the songs don't have much variety. In fact, the only song that really stands apart from the others to me is Devil Inside You. I think every other song tries much too hard to be groundbreaking. Take Heart In Chains, there are some very good parts in the track, but the death metal growls and some of Sabine's vocals kind of ruin it. The closing song, Ballade, despite being performed completely in a foreign language, is the other strong track. It seems simplicity is key to this band making good music. Devil Inside You is pretty intricate, but I just think Elis shines on ballad-type songs.

My two favorite songs are Devil Inside You and Ballade. There's so much potential in this CD, but it doesn't seem Elis tried to capture it and use it to their advantage. If they want to be compared to a band as truly amazing as Nightwish, then they better step their game way up.
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on October 28, 2005
But not great.

Truth be told it really only deserves 3 stars, but i'm giving it one more because....well...dispite all it's flaws, i kinda liked it.

The big problem here as far as i'm concerned is that it all seems like more style than substance : the music's fine, the cover is pretty but overall the whole package seems pretty uninspired. There a couple of moments where you'll go 'wow,' (or at least i did), but they're all too fleeting. Ultimately, there's nothing here you haven't heard before. It kinda reminds me of a cross between lacuna coil and a watered down version of nightwish.

Don't get me wrong though, it's not all bad.

They are a good band and they do have some talent. Actually, i think they have a lot of potential....if they can find a way to distingish themselves from the rest of the pack.

All and all, it's definatly worth a listen. Just don't buy it expecting a masterpiece, that's all.
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on May 21, 2007
Goth-metal, straight up rock with a female singer with the voice of a goddess. The first song on this CD, sung in the band's native tongue (German), is incredible. The remainder of the CD is very well crafted and the female vocalist is/was incredibly, incredibly talented. When I heard she had died at age 29, I was really saddened. What a loss to the world of music. Out of all the female vocalists I've heard over the years, this girl had it going on. I love her voice,layered and backed by throbbing rock and roll. Gracious, mesmerizing. Please don't let her death deter you from purchasing this CD. I highly recommend it. Add it to your collection. You won't be disappointed.
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