Elixir - 'All Hallows Eve' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 04, 2011    
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Great album by Elixir.

Timing is everything. Elixir arrived right at the tail end of the NWOBHM party, releasing their first single 'Treachery' in 1985 when things were pretty much over 'n' done with. Which is a great shame. Had they come together a couple of years earlier a band of their talent and self-belief could easily have made a bigger name for themselves at a time when the UK was seemingly producing all the best metal music. After two albums and a messy split it looked like Elixir's entry in the book of metal was complete, but then the band's 'proper' line-up of vocalist Paul Taylor, guitarists Norman Gordon and Phil Denton and the Dobbs Brothers Kevin (bass) and Nigel (drums) re-united following a get-together at Stormin' Norman's birthday bash in 2001 and the rest, as they say, is history.  

A further two studio releases and a live album later sees the band unveiling 'All Hallows Eve' appropriately enough on 31st October. "We just felt that it was time we recorded something new again," notes Denton, who also produced the album this time around. "We also wanted to top [debut album] 'The Son of Odin', the success of which, in terms of acclaim, has set the benchmark for all our albums since. In terms of achievement, we have indeed recorded something new: as for topping 'The Son of Odin' though I'm too close to the project to appraise the result objectively; I'll let the fans decide!"

The lazy hacks who want to dismiss the band with their Iron Maiden clichés –well, they're an Eighties British band, so they must sound like Maiden, eh? – can get their pens out 'n' rocks off to album opener and title track 'All Hallows Eve'; OK, there is a leaning towards Harris's herberts as the song riffs away, but it's an excitable little toe-tapper that makes a blistering start to the album and would also kick off the band's live set in a suitably anthemic manner. But elsewhere songs like 'The Pagan Queen' and 'The Spell' (are you getting a picture here?) able demonstrate that Elixir have a fully-developed identity of their own, and whereas they wear their NWOBHM influences on their sleeveless t-shirts they're not afraid to introduce more latter-day progressive elements into the mix.

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Although my personal favourite is the wonderfully metal and ridiculously catchy 'Daughters Of The Moon' no review would be complete without a mention of album closer 'Samhain' which at 14-minutes-plus takes up almost a third of 'All Hallows Eve''s running time. An epic in every sense of the word, 'Samhain' is the band's 'Stargazer', or 'Kashmir' or, dare I say it, 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner'. Majestically complex but effortless engaging, 'Samhain' is a challenging composition which showcases a completely different side of the band and which should finally silence any critics once and for all. "'Samhain' is something I'm particularly pleased with," comments Denton. "A song that's over fourteen minutes long takes a lot of work, writing, rehearsing, arranging and then recording, but I think it has come out extremely well." And it has; trust me on this.

Is this a great album? Yes, it is. Is it better than 'The Son Of Odin'? Yes, it is. Should you buy it? Yes, you should. Incidentally, 'All Hallows Eve' is dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio, whose thumbs-up of 'Treachery' in a singles review in Kerrang! gave the band the confidence to consider recording a full album.

John Tucker

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