ELEINE are a Symphonic Metal trio based out of Sweden. They formed in 2014 by vocalist Madeleine Liljestam, guitarist & vocalist Rikard Ekberg, and were later joined by drummer Jesper Sunnhagen in 2018. They signed to Atomic Fire Records in January of 2022, a label based out of Donzdorf, Germany whose roster is made up of Seventh Storm, Meshuggah, Epica, Michael Schenker, and more. They’ve released three full-length albums, including their debut self-titled in 2015, Until The End in 2018, and Dancing In Hell in 2020. The band has released two EP’s, the first in 2019 titled All Shall Burn, and most recently Acoustic In Hell on October 14th of 2022.
Acoustic In Hell is comprised of eight tracks reworked in acoustic form spanning throughout ELEINE’s entire discography. The EP as described by Rikard is a little treat for those who dig into their discography in the future. It is also an in between albums thing they’re doing, as they are working on material for their next full-length album they plan to release in 2023.
Acoustic In Hell was recorded at The Panic Room in Skövde, Sweden. It was mixed and mastered by Thomas “Plec” Johansson, who has worked with them since their 2018 record Until The End. Madeleine shared they had talked to Thomas about how they’d been doing a lot of Metal and that’s what they were going to continue to do, however for this acoustic EP, they wanted it in a specific way, “we explained it to him, and he knows so much, and has microphones everywhere. He’s the sound nerd and we Love that. Based on what we told him, full on mode, we were like ‘ok, we need this, we need that…Put that microphone there…’ and he went for it! We’re supper satisfied with the result. It sounds so crisp, so clear,
yet alive. But also, so warm.” Rikard then added, “And raw and authentic! It’s beautiful!”
You can order Acoustic In Hell through Atomic Fire Records at this link!
Fan Facts: Thomas “Plec” Johansson has also worked on Soilwork’s Death Resonance, Daemon by Mayhem, Embers of a Dying World by Mors Principium Est, and more!
ELEINE write their Music very Truthfully and Honestly, and the words are never really about fantasy and dragons, they’re about very heavy topics, with beautiful and majestic Music that convey the emotions of the lyrics. Madeleine and Rikard are the main writers of the Music and lyrics for ELEINE. When fans really listen to the Music and read the lyrics, they find out they are more about struggles and Life, Metal Health, empowerment, and being beaten down and rising up from it. The Acoustic In Hell EP is free of distorted guitars and features hints of Rikard’s growling vocals. The main thought behind redoing all of these songs was to keep them raw and authentic, while also maintaining a certain groove within each track.
ELEINE were invited to perform on the European tour with Sonata Arctica that is going on right now, which you can find the tour dates listed below. After they received the phone call, they decided they needed to rearrange some of their songs as they had never done acoustic songs of their own before. “It was starting from scratch. We rearranged songs, some were left on the cutting room floor. These eight that are on the EP, they made it. And we booked studio time for a week. We went in, we did it, and ta-da!”
Rikard continued to speak about how it’s fun to play the songs, yet it was also challenging to keep them the same. The songs all have the same beats per minutes as far as drumming goes, and they are all the same songs, they have to play them in a different kind of way since they’re acoustic, “Even though, you really get the vibe of this is freakin’ acoustic, but it has something else to it…And I really, really enjoy that feeling when I listen to it. It’s our Music and many think all bands do it like this…Like, “alright, we’ve got to be in the studio for months and we got to sit there and figure out what the hell we want!” That is not how reality it is…That is like movie-band…Know what I mean?”
Madeleine discussed the challenge behind recreating these songs, “The challenge was, really, our Music is heavy, it’s very majestic, it’s monumental, all of that. So, stripping it down to this very raw and authentic vibe was like, “ok, how are we going to do this?” I’m very happy we could maintain the actual song. It is like, yeah, you can hear this acoustic song past its own vibe, but yet it is still the exact same song. I think it’s very interesting, I easily get a little bit of a nerd when it comes to it, but it’s nice. I Love that we could keep this warmth and this vibe in every song that you can actually hear in the original songs as well.”
Madeleine elaborated about how this EP can be enjoyed for everyone, even if your Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa may not be fans of Metal in general, “Maybe they find the way to the original songs, but if they don’t, they can still enjoy the Music. It still has this core essence of the song, they still have the same meaning, they have a certain groove that the original songs have as well, it was just nice to have this.”
ELEINE recently released their newest Music video for their acoustic version of Ava of Death. The word “ava” is the Persian word for “the voice” and not necessarily the name “Ava”. The song title means “The Voice of Death“. Rikard elaborated, “It is really, really about unity. It’s about getting there together. We are here. We are loud. We have a voice. We are Ava of Death. I can you tell this, this video, you’ve never seen an acoustic setting like this.”
The original version of the song is one of Madeleine’s favorites off of the Dancing In Hell record and for the acoustic version, one of her most favorite Music videos they’ve made so far, “I mean, I do like the original, I really do, because it gives me this fire…Get up early, prepare for battle, hell yeah. I like it. I like Enemies too. I really like them all. It has a certain vibe to it. I really enjoy it. I like this video. It’s one of our favorites.”
When they were recording Acoustic In Hell, Madeleine and Rikard both formed new relationships with some of the songs. Rikard feels that Death Incarnate, which is originally from their self-titled album, is a bumpy song and you really feel the beat to it, “I can speak for myself, I have an inherent fear of Death. It is really, really crushing sometimes, and the song itself is about Death…The path of Life I’m meaning, you’re trying to avoid this end thing, but you can’t…Every road leads to that…And the song is make the most of what you got…Do not look at that end point and fear that end point during your journey. I mean, really make the most out of it. Empower, feel joy, experience sadness, but grow from it.”
“I don’t exactly how to explain it, but when it comes to Hell Moon on the EP, it is like, I Love the whole majestic original song, and we have also done that as a symphonic version, which always gives me chills. It’s very movie like, it’s very beautiful. But this acoustic one, it’s groovy, it’s really groovy! Now I have a third relationship with this song, you know. It is this groovy, very nice vibe. I think I almost feel that way with all of the songs because it has this very stripped-down vibe, it’s very groovy, it’s very warm and organic. It feels cozy and I’d almost say sexy, but yeah, I’m going to leave it there!” Madeleine said while laughing.
Enemies was written in the form of a majestic battle hymn with very empowering lyrics, and some are personal mantras. The song is about keeping on, keeping at it, and never giving up. Rikard detailed why the lyrics, “blood fills my lungs, a foul taste on my tongue,” resonate so deeply, “We’ve been through shit, and you feel that knife in the back, you feel something filling up your lungs, and you feel the taste of the blood in your mouth, knowing that someone has betrayed you and stabbed you in the back. That really speaks to me.” Another lyric from the song, he connects with is, “”We are one as we stand against our enemies.” I mean, the entire song is filled with mantras, I Love it, I Love it.”
Madeleine shared how she personally feels the lyrics of, “I feel Death’s touch, as I spit my own blood,” are a mantra to her, “to me, I’m sure you have your wars, but I have mine…To me, that really is me struggling with the part of struggling with depression. Like, feeling Death’s touch, can really be portrayed as, you’re on the thin line between Life and choosing to end it…And when you’re there, you can just feel that “I spit my own blood”, but you can also see it as you’re in an actual fight with someone, right? You’re on the verge of losing this fight, and you’re spitting your blood, looking your enemy in the eye, like “I’m going to fuck you up!”, but you can portray it in so many ways. To me, it is so empowering, that sentence just gives me this, “I am not giving up! I refuse to give up! I’m going to continue! I’m going to spit out the teeth that I just lost, and some blood with it! I’m just going to continue.” She then added, “I’d Love to see it in a movie, like 300 or something like that. I want to see that happen. It would fit so well. This very majestic battle!”
These songs are also a reminder to Madeleine every time she performs or rehearses them about her own struggles with depression and how creating the Music of ELEINE saved her, “I have my struggles. I’ve been through a deep depression, and I know that ELEINE to me has saved me because when I went into that depression, what kept me going was the Patreon that we have for us, which was like, ‘ok, now we have Patreon, I want to make content, I need to create!” And I didn’t have any choice, I just had to. And when I started and worked, I came back to Life in a way, when I started to be creative again.
Doing the rehearsals that we could, we couldn’t have rehearsals in Sweden during the pandemic because we had restrictions, but no lockdowns, and we were very aware of everything. And I’m so grateful that we could do that because I don’t know what else would happen to me because every week when we rehearsed, I felt hope. Singing the songs, I was like “YEAH, I feel Death’s touch! And I spit my own blood!” I just felt that I rise up again.
And also the fans, since we could stay more in touch on Patreon with our fans, it’s a bit more intimate and private than other social medias, it was a reminder of why we continue to do this, and really pulled me out of it. For that, I’m eternally grateful. So yes, if we can help anyone out there with our Music, we’re very happy, but it also helps us on a daily basis. And that is the two way street for our fans.”
Fan Facts: You can check out ELEINE’s official Patreon page here and subscribe to access backstage and behind the scenes photos, access to their private Discord, special virtual meet & greets, random giveaways, discounted merch, and more!
All Shall Burn is a song that fans call the official ELEINE anthem. For Rikard, this is how he likes a song to be while listening to Music. When he gets a connection with a song in any way, shape, or form like he feels with All Shall Burn, he knows for a fact that many people relate to the lyrics, “The beginning of the chorus, “Stand with us, ignore the spineless lies, in which they bury us,” I believe that basically 99.9% can relate with that, or let’s say 50%, but the rest of the 50% are the ones telling me these lies. Everyone can relate to that; you had some co-worker or family member saying this shit about you to undermine you and make you worthless in other people’s eyes.”
There is a very, very strong Truth within the song and Rikard is super proud to have been able to write it with Madeleine, as they had been through shit, and were going through shit when they had written it, which fueled them more, “Look at what it became. We did the right thing, we went with what we felt was right, and that is what became of it. And that is what we always do, we never sit down and say, ‘what do people want to hear? what should we do now to be more popular?” It’s not about that for us, it’s not. We really, really want to put our stuff out there. This is what we Love to do, this is our passion. There’s no fake it til— I hate that phrase, the ones that go with that full on, fake it ’til you make it, I mean, you can of course make it, but you can only fake it for a certain period of time. And the thing is, you’re destroying the path, or making it harder for those who really do it. For real, for real. Not for the fame and glory. You can do whatever the fuck you want. I can be really angry about people who do stuff, you know? And it just gets me fired up!” He said while laughing, and continued to speak, “It really gets me fired up. But the main line here is that yes, all of the songs are of course very, very important and powerful, but All Shall Burn, man….Ahh, you know that feeling, when you feel the line has crossed, and everyone has that line, and shall totally be annihilated! All Shall freakin’ Burn! [laughs] That is powerful! And a really kick ass solo.”
Some fans have described the song as melancholic, yet hopeful, Madeleine added, “Some have said that about our Music in general, that it has a melancholic vibe, but it’s yet hopeful. I think it really describes it well, because we can speak of the struggles of depression and whatnot, things you are going through, but we’re not just whining about it. We are turning it into, ok we can actually do this!
We want people to be able to relate to the songs. If you recognize yourself in our Music, and you can feel empowered. Well, we’re happy. We’re always going to be here, and the Music will always be there.”
The album Artwork was an idea formulated by Madeleine and brought to fruition by Nestor Avalos, who is an Artist based out of Mexico. He has done many of their album and single covers over the years. Madeleine described how the Art began with her seeing something, then drawing a sketch of it, “I even kept the sketch, it’s terrible, but it really explains the three persons in the middle, some of the details around it…I saw it pretty clearly what it should be. And it’s really, I’m not going to say mirror, it is inspired from Dancing In Hell with all the fire and all because a lot of those songs are from Dancing In Hell, so I really wanted to keep that vibe too. If you just watch the Artwork, you can get a vibe of Dancing In Hell if you are aware of Dancing In Hell, if you’re not and read Acoustic In Hell and see this Artwork, we want you to know that this is not like a regular acoustic thing… We want you to feel, ‘hey, what is this really!?’ because there’s a little teaser I saw in myself…And the demons on the side standing like this,” as Madeleine and Rikard both recreated the pose in the interview holding the “invisible oranges” portrayed in the Artwork.
When Madeleine listens to a lot of Black and Death Metal and hears something that is exciting, it’s always those invisible oranges she starts squeezing her hands, as many fans of Metal do the same. The classic pose is captured in the Artwork with the demons on each side, “It says Acoustic In Hell, and it’s a lot of fire. We really wanted to portray that, but yes, it’s acoustic, and it’s Metal. That’s what it was. And it was Lovely to work with Nestor again, we Love his work. He’s a fantastic Artist. I showed him my horrible sketch, he came up with something, we did this back-and-forth thing like we always do, switch back to this and whatnot, and this happened. It just felt so right.”
Fan Facts: Nestor Avalos’ portfolio consists of album covers for Exodus, Obscura Qalma, merch designs for Brujeria, and more! Check out more of his dark illustrations here!
This interview is officially Manifesting a tour with Sabaton, Amaranthe, and ELEINE. When we were speaking on how they feel their Swedish culture is featured within their sound, Rikard commented, “The Music we write is very, very ELEINE. And we’ve heard that from many different places and that’s why I can speak so openly about it. That people really can’t put their finger on which kind of genre it is, it is Metal, it has symphonics — so Symphonic Metal, Dark Symphonic Metal, of course…. But not really exactly that…But maybe that is the Swedish-German vibe we have.”
Madeleine added, “I can mention two other bands I know that it’s very hard to say exactly what genre they are. And they’re both Swedish. Sabaton and Amaranthe. Both of them are great examples of ok, I hear Power elements in Sabaton, but they’re not Power Metal per-se, and Amaranthe, what are they? But to me, Sabaton is Sabaton, and Amaranthe, they’re Amaranthe. And ELEINE, is ELEINE. Maybe it’s a Swedish thing!
Rikard then exclaimed, “That sells it, we need to do a tour. Sabaton, Amaranthe, and ELEINE! “
You can catch ELEINE performing their Acoustic In Hell EP on tour with Sonata Arctica right now all across Europe!
10/28/2022 Christuskirche – Bochum, DE
10/29/2022 Pandora – Utrecht, NL
10/31/2022 Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK
11/02/2022 Le Forum – Paris/Vaureal, FR
11/03/2022 Le CCO – Lyon, FR
11/04/2022 Salamandra – Barcelona, ES
11/05/2022 Stage Live – Bilbao, ES
11/06/2022 Copérnico – Madrid, ES
11/08/2022 Custom – Sevilla, ES
11/09/2022 Garaje – Murcia, ES
11/10/2022 Totem – Pamplona, ES
11/11/2022 Le Metronum – Toulouse, FR
11/12/2022 Le Ferrailleur – Nantes, FR
11/13/2022 De Casino – Sint-Niklaas, BE
11/15/2022 Hirsch – Nuremberg, DE
11/16/2022 Z7- Pratteln, CH
11/17/2022 Live Club – Milan, IT
11/18/2022 Orto Bar – Ljubljana, SI
11/20/2022 Joy Station – Sofia, BG
11/21/2022 Quantic Club – Bukarest, RO
11/22/2022 FORM Space – Cluj-Napoca, RO
11/24/2022 Szene – Vienna, AT
11/25/2022 Akvarium – Budapest, HU
11/26/2022 Club Garage – Ostrava, CZ
11/27/2022 Proxima – Warsaw, PL
11/28/2022 Columbia Theater – Berlin, DE
11/29/2022 Backstage (Werk) – Munich, DE
12/01/2022 Essigfabrik – Cologne, DE
12/02/2022 Zauberberg – Passau, DE
12/03/2022 Halle 101- Speyer, DE
Article written & interview conducted by The Scream Queen Jenna Williams!