Elyose – Déviante Review

Nu metal was never cool. As the unholy offshoot of metalhead undesirables of the time—hardcore, groove, hip hop/rock mashups, funky alt-rock, post-grunge—it represented an aggressive future for a wanting youth that aimed to undo the olde. And, as many industry trends go, nu metal went the way of the buffalo as the target audience aged out and hopped on other trends. Some, like this Dolph, latched on to the inspirations and metal history of olde to become music nerds of a different kind.1 So why do we find ourselves in the midst of a nu renaissance where bands like The Offering throw down like it’s ’03 and genres like slam can shamelessly quote groove under the guise of gore?2 Well, it seems that some also grew up to incorporate their first loves into their art. Elyose, an act of that breed, urges you to embrace your inner jumpdafuckup with a French language tour-de-force of alt-rock meets gothy vibes with nu and industrial accouterments on Déviante. Everything olde is nu again, but is that really what we need?

Déviante may not be what you need but its Y2K cybergoth aesthetic holds a unique charm. Justine Daaé (The Erinyes) has been the primary mind of Elyose now for over ten years, which she has used wisely to hone and embolden her craft. Whether it’s the “Bring Me to Life” (Evanescence) rap/bark/siren dueling of “L’assemblée” or the turn of the 10s chunky guitar work à la Circles that propels “Le glaive,” Elyose remains modern in full embrace of its inspirations. At a glance, pop-aiming acts like Amaranthe appear as sound cousins, but bands like that often lose an edge to achieve an overall palatability. Daaé, in contrast, uses her studied croons to bend melodies around tight grooves (“Ils t’ont dit”) and layer dense choirs with her wide range (“Déviante”)—accessibility through finesse. Elyose wears its brightest moments with power and precision.

Mostly, this means that Elyose stocks more hooks than a tackle shop—Déviante can’t stop itself from having well-barbed choruses. Calculated tactics like intensity shifts from soft verse to soaring chorus (“Ils t’ont dit”) and stutter riffs that drop out before big bang melodies (“Retour au réel”) keep the ABABCB songs from feeling too familiar in form to each other. Daaé shines on deeply layered and vocally syncopated choruses that explore similar territory as modern Leprous work but with far more restraint. Still the creep of fatigue sets in from chorus overload during the middle section of Déviante, the slower double whammy of “Humaine” and “Déviante.” Even still you’ll be adding your own struggling voice to the strongest numbers.3

Even though Elyose crafts simple, tricky, and thicky grooves, the boomy, modern production can get in the way of the subtler flourishes that give Déviante character. While the record doesn’t score particularly low on the DR scale, the guitar tracks and bass kicks (all handled by Daaé’s partner in crime, Anthony Chognard) feel particularly overwhelming through songs that have gentle synth lines hovering in the back (“Le glaive,” “Humaine”). And at moments where the guitars play a supporting role to allow a synthwave influence to pour through, the synth work feels too upfront, giving this space an even louder attitude than when the guitar dominates (“Déviante,” “De la lune à la terre”). Regardless, Daaé’s voice always ends up front and center, a respite to my ears which feel a bit exhausted by the often blaring mix.

Over the course of Elyoseߵs career, Daaé has come into her own as a confident frontwoman. In many ways, the path she carves runs toward the same destination, from a different starting point, to previously prog-heavy groups like Leprous or Voyager who have grown further distant from complex and noodly roots. And, simultaneously, the raw promise of what Elyose has to offer fulfills the jagged groove in a power pop sleeve that Spiritbox could have fulfilled had Eternal Blue remained adventurous in spirit. Whatever issues I may have with Déviante can’t take away the joy and power I feel when it connects, even if every track doesn’t resound as memorably as peak moments. Elyose, now four albums down, may not be a household name, but Déviante gives us many reasons to consider that Daaé has moved her project closer toward breakout success.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: elyosemusic.com | facebook.com/elyoseofficial
Releases Worldwide: February 9th, 2023

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Actual cool kids.
  2. Lookin’ at you Sanguisugabogg et al.
  3. Maybe you sing better than I do, but not better than Daaé.
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