-- Elusion and Asgaard get shredded --

Stijn Daneels
I was invited to go to the opening gig of metal bar Asgaard in Sint-Amandsberg (January 28, 2017) by Grimm Ghent. Obviously, I can't resist a good interview and the female fronted symphonic band Elusion was more than willing to get shredded before they opened up for Lemuria!

So Frederik, Domingo and I got all close and personal in the bar's boiler room to provide you with a literally hot conversation about Elusion's beginnings, the band's many musical influences (which go far beyond heavy metal and its countless subgenres), 70.000 Tons of Metal and why Domingo is basically a blonde version of Otto Mann from the Simpsons! Let's ride, girls and dudes!

BMS: Before the shredding begins I'd like to thank you for sharing my review of Desert of Enticement review on your band's Facebook page. It was a pleasure shredding your EP.
Domingo: You're welcome, we had a blast reading your article and we're happy that you're satisfied with our EP.
Frederik: Our main goal with this short Desert of Enticement EP is to put our band on the map and to get people interested for our upcoming shows and releases. We've got several gigs planned for the following months and the positive feedback we've received for our EP motivates us to, literally, go the extra mile!
BMS: What are your other plans for the future?
Domingo: Getting our band to play on the 70.000 Tons of Metal Cruise!
BMS: In that case I'll be more than happy to join you on the trip!
Domingo: Yeah, we'll get there, only 69.999 tons left to go! Ha, ha! Now seriously, we want to release a full album. We currently have a couple of songs written and we'll be presenting some of that new material here tonight.

Elusion from left to right: Frederick (drums), Evy (vocals), Domingo (guitar) and Kristof (bass).

And here's Makke, Elusion's freshly recruited second guitarist.
BMS: Is it easy to come up with material that everyone in the band is satisfied with?
Domingo: In fact it's very easy to get stuff that everyone in Elusion can support. All band members enjoy various music genres and we want to give each Elusion song a unique feel. For instance, Desert of Enticement's title track has Middle-Eastern influences while Facade is inspired by Celtic Folk. We also got a heavy rock track called My War Within that we'll be playing here tonight. So there you go, fun for the whole family!
BMS: And that's one of the things I liked the most about the Desert of Enticement EP, it's varied and overall very enjoyable. Tell me how you handle your songwriting.
Domingo: Listening to and writing music is my life! Among other things I love rock, metal, classical, film music (such as the musical score from Gladiator, I WAS ENTERTAINED!) And after the music is written, Evy comes in to help me write a story to fit with the song's style. So if we were to write a song about the Old West, you can expect things like acoustic guitar and harmonica. Everything's permitted!
BMS: I can't wait for you to write a song about Gladiator or about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! And how do you discuss your ideas with your fellow Elusionists?
Domingo: We discuss new material through Skype as we live far away from each other. Therefore we rarely get together in person to rehearse. When we meet up on Skype, we connect our computers together through Teamviewer so we can directly provide our personal inputs.
BMS: Tell me, Domingo, what motivated you to start Elusion?
Domingo: Ever since my musical career began, I've played several different metal genres, such as grindcore with Agathocles, black metal with Gracefallen, doom metal with Renaissance and finally I've played with the black and viking metal hybrid Ancient Rites for 15 years and for whom I've written their well-received 2015 release Laguz. Being part of all those bands gave me much experience in terms of songwriting, recording and stage presence and with Elusion, I want to have my very own band.

Domingo: I immediately thought of a female fronted symphonic metal band that's inspired by all those music genres I talked about before, so it not just symphonic metal by itself. So I contacted Kristof and Frederik to hear if they were interested, in addition, I knew that my wife Evy had vocal experience from her time with the gothic doom metal band Keltgar and she was interested in joining Elusion as well.

Frederik: And today a new member has joined our ranks. Thanks to Kristof we've got a second guitarist named Makke and tonight will be his first show.

BMS: One thing I noticed about Desert of Enticement was how clean and crisp its sound quality was. Tell me your secret!
Domingo: Thanks about the compliment, Stijn. But this is an Ancient Chinese secret, my friend! Ha, ha! Ok, I follow a course in audio mixing and mastering and Desert of Enticement was my first project in audio production with female vocals and orchestral arrangements. Every element of the album was composed and recorded at my home except for Frederik who recorded his drum tracks at his house and then he sent his part to me by email.
BMS: You know, you've made some beautiful artwork for the Desert of Enticement EP but I wonder whether the band picture was taken in a real desert. Or was it just a really large sandbox?
Frederik: Our album photo was taken in Lommel. The city has a tourist park that looks like a desert and therefore it's nicknamed the Sahara of Lommel. So yeah, basically it was a really large natural sandbox! We also did a bit of photoshopping to make this desert appear much grander and enticing than it actually was. And no, we didn't get much sand in our shoes!
BMS: I'm glad to hear that. So, what are your other activities aside from Elusion?
Frederik: Recently I began playing drums for an Anderlecht based band called Anwynn and I work for a chemical company.
Domingo: I work as a part-time bus driver and on the days I'm off duty I work on expanding my audio recording and mixing skills. My dream would be to one day become a professional music producer.
BMS: So you're a metalhead and bus driver, that basically means you're Otto the bus driver from the Simpsons! WOOHOO!
Domingo: Oh yeah, but I've dyed my hair blonde not too long ago. Ha, ha!
BMS: Is there anything else you wish to tell me before you jump on the Asgaard stage?
Frederick: Thank you for your time, Stijn!
Domingo: Yeah, thanks, Metal Shredder! I hope you and the other folks in the Asgaard bar will enjoy tonight's show. We're ready to kick some serious ass!
[Evy joins in]
Evy: And so do I. Everything's set up and ready to go!
BMS: But before you kick ass, let's kick ourselves into a photograph!

Right after they posed for the picture above, Elusion got on stage to kick off the Asgaard bar's opening event. The band presented their full Desert of Enticement EP to the numerous headbangers in the venue and they put some currently unreleased material in between such as the epic song Warrior Within that has a badass galloping beat that made me think of Iron Maiden.

Around the middle part of Elusion's performance, something funny happened. After they finished playing Desert of Enticement's title track, Domingo said the next song would be a Slayer song! Evy, surprised by Domingo's suggestion, quickly responded that the setlist won't feature any Slayer tracks to which I yelled SLAYER and showed her my Slayer eagle back patch. Nevertheless, a lady always gets the final saying in every argument! Fortunately, that final saying was a beautiful rendition of the Nightwish classic wherein Evy successfully nailed Floor Jansens's signature vocals. And Evy promised me she and the guys will be playing a Slayer song next time we meet. Good, Angel of Death will do!

Overall, Elusion put on a damn good show that night. The sound quality was excellent and all vocals and instruments sounded very clear. The band members had a great time playing for the enthusiastic Asgaard crowd and they enjoyed Elusion's tunes a lot! But as is the case with all fun gigs, the band got to their final song in seemingly no time, leaving me and my fellow shredders hungry for more. And more came into the form of Lemuria!

Lemuria's show can best be described as a larger-than-life Hollywood movie spectacle! The band entered the stage to the famous opening tunes of the 20th Century Fox theme and then they began banging their heads like there was no tomorrow! Now that's what I call an entrance! Too bad Wesley's vocals took a bit longer to make their entrance, as he sounded quite muffled during the first two songs. Good thing that issue was quickly fixed and thanks to the band's vivid attitude on stage and their awesome songs, the small and cozy Asgaard bar suddenly felt much bigger and grander than it actually was!

Lemuria's setlist mainly featured songs from their two latest albums, Tales, Ale and Fire and Chanson de la Croisade. There weren't any new songs unfortunately and I hope they will bring some new stuff soon as I'm eager to hear a taste of their upcoming release. That's not to say I've got bored of Lemuria's existing material, on the contrary, me and the other people in attendance went crazy during every song the band threw at us from their lengthy setlist. Especially the penultimate track, a Day of Reckoning, was one huge party song that made everyone headbang, dance and clap their hands! And after one final celebration with the song Gerstenat, the band and crowd went home tired but happy.

I've got to admit, the folks of Grimm Ghent made a great choice in turning this old bar into their newest base of operations. The place is easily accessible and it has a huge parking lot right next to it. The drinks are varied (they have Lachouffe, fuck yeah!) and overall not too expensive (even without the membership card discount) and it's just a fun place to go! As for the bands, what more can I say? Elusion has shown a lot of potential and Lemuria got the crowd pumped in mere seconds! Their styles perfectly complement each other and all members of both bands gave it their all that night in front of a fully packed bar! Hopefully we'll be seeing these two bands go on tour together one day! In any case, this event gets 8 Mj√∂lnir hammers out of 10!

Elusion - The Serpentine Trail