Winds Devouring Men (2003)
ELEND, which was founded in 1993 by composers and multi-instrumentalists Iskandar Hasnawi (France) and Renaud Tschirner (Austria), was joined by new members in the course of its existence: the sopranos Eve-Gabrielle Siskind (1994-1995) and Nathalie Barbary (1995-present); keyboard player, programmer and engineer Sébastien Roland (1997-present).
Discography: the "Officium Tenebrarum" cycle:
* Leçons de Ténèbres (Holy Records, 1994)
* Les Ténèbres du Dehors (Holy Records, 1996)
* The Umbersun / Au tréfonds des Ténèbres (Music for Nations, 1998)
* Weeping Nights (Holy Records, 1997)
2002 saw the reformation of the project:
«Having put ELEND to sleep after the release of The Umbersun in 1998 in order to clear our heads from the concept we had been dealing with for five years, we turned to other, mostly private musical activities. We have since then been enjoying the creative liberty offered by our own recording structure The Fall.»
Both co-founders never ceased to compose, whether for their solo projects or their common work, ranging from avant-garde orchestral (Ensemble Orphique) to dark industrial (Statues) and electronic music (A Poison Tree).
These new musical horizons did not keep them from writing the music «that naturally flows from [them]», however. Without much difficulty they found themselves with enough new compositions in store to fill several of what might be called ELEND albums. Although these pieces were merely intended as a private enjoyment, the composers finally decided to shape them into a definitive form and to revive the project. The current personnel consists of the recording line-up that participated in the recording of The Umbersun as well as of additional instrumentalists (violins, violas, trumpets, horns, trombones).
Winds Devouring Men recording personnel:
* Klaus Amann: trumpet, horn, trombone
* Nathalie Barbary: soprano
* Shinji Chihara: violin, viola
* David Kempf: violin, solo violin
* Esteri Rémond: soprano
All other instruments and vocals, sound-design and programming by Iskandar Hasnawi, Sébastien Roland and Renaud Tschirner.
The production of Winds Devouring Men took place at The Fall, the band's private recording studios. Being liberated at last from the constraints of external studios made possible a major leap forward in terms of production quality.
As to the music, it is extremely dark and melancholic, and though much of it is calmer than that of the preceding album, which was hailed by the critics as one of the darkest and most violent albums ever recorded, it still has its dramatic outbursts of violence.
The elements that made up the personality and originality of the band are still there: a dense and varied orchestral instrumentation and the interplay of male and female voices. The screams, however, have disappeared; the band explains this as follows:
«The use of screams seemed totally justified by our project and was legitimate at the time of the "Officium Tenebrarum" cycle; but today it would not make sense anymore. We want to avoid to reduce them to a mere artificial element. The audience and the critics have always acknowledged that the screams of ELEND were something unique, and we force ourselves to believe that this is derived from an internal necessity of our music. We have never understood bands that use screams in order to belong to a particular scene or to conform to a certain fashion, although they are not justified by their music. We believe that any further use of this device, or its abuse, would deprive all we have achieved until now of its credibility and originality.
Violence and savagery are an integral part of ELEND - if these aspects did not interest us any longer, we would use another name; but screams do not appear to us as an adequate mode of expression of this violence anymore. Our music still screams, but in another way.»
Musical violence, which has always been one of the central constituents of the project, is thus expressed elsewhere, such as through the inclusion of industrial and percussive elements, which build up menacing sonic monuments.