Ellorsith – 1959 [ Scotland, Black / Death] (2014)

Calligari Records |9-1-14

Calligari Records |9-1-14

Have you heard any theories surrounding the Dyatlov Pass incident? Maybe? Maybe not? If you haven’t heard anything about this unsolved mystery, which left nine Russian hikers dead in the depths of the Ural mountains, do not feel bad. Neither did I until this Scottish black death outfit told me all about it. I enjoy when a fantastic release also leads me to do research on one of the more bizarre mysteries that has conspiracy undertones. Think of this as an obscure history lesson with underground extreme metal.

Perhaps the more important aspect of 1959 is the way Ellosith portrays the tragedy that befell nine people in the same year as the title. The band incorporates a slower tempo to their black / death rather than the all out assault heard in other bands. Though this leaves the ferocity at a minimum, the atmosphere in 1959 is now allowed to swirl and manifest much like an ensuing snow or electric storm. The echoing guitar leads and the slow pulse of the drums in songs like “Marasmus” make the whole production more foreboding than most releases in recent memory. If one has a penchant for low guttural vocals, then the almost inhuman snarls from the unnamed vocalist should be enough to freeze any amount of blood. I make all of these jokes about freezing because I can not think of a more apt theme than an incident that ends in cold darkness.

1959 is a fine release even without its interesting subtext. Part of the experience is reading the conflicting theories regarding the deaths of the nine hikers, which range from the very plausible to the extremely bizarre. The EP’s outro “Compelling Natural Forces” takes its name from the phrase used by investigators to describe the cause of death. At the end of the track however, are monstrous sounds drowning a fearful Russian cry for help. Whatever the band is portraying as the true incident is not natural in the slightest bit.