Vera : 'The Umbersun' was originally released by Music For Nations in 1998 as fourth and last part of the Officium Tenebrarum cycle. Since the album is out of print for many years - Music For Nations stopped activities in 2004 - the members of Elend decided to re-master it and re-release it in a nice-looking digipack with an extra track. French label Orphika will release it worldwide except in Poland. There the album was re-released in 2007 by Metal Mind Productions, but beware, this was not a re-mastered version.
Though classified as sympho/prog, we cannot call this symphonic rock. No, this is pure symphonic music, heavy classical stuff full of bombast, emanating of a mixture of extreme brutality and serene introvert sounds. People who are familiar with Elend, know that this French/Austrian trio of multi-instrumentalists never serves easy digesting music and that is not different on this fin de siècle album. Thirty vocalists regale us with impressive choirs. The music instantly feels very religious and ecclesiastical and that is no wonder, since the music is based on the three masses held in the Holy Week right before Eastern.
Elend's albums are masterpieces of sudden reversal. One moment you hear female soprano chants and serene violin, next moment - for example in 'Du Tréfonds Des Ténèbres' - the Apocalypse is near and it seems as if they fall from the stairs with all their instrumentation. In between this organized chaos, we hear a narrative female voice in 'Melpomene' and later a whispering male voice. But sometimes also desperate screams close to madness. These parts are largely oppressive. The simplest composition happens to be the very beautiful sung 'Moon Of Amber' in which the male voice comes close to the sonorous warmth of Greg Lake's voice. 'Apocalypse' explains just what it feels like, but includes in addition to chaotic tendencies some restless choirs and conjuring percussion. Just like 'Umbra' which increases the growing feeling of uneasiness with out of control violins and menacing ruffles. This is unctuous and flogging; so much beauty and dissonant discomfort united in a masterful manner. Peaceful moments and apocalyptic overwhelming faultlessly merge into an impressive piece of music that will unfold itself into a proper opus magnum if you take the time to listen again and again.