Elijah's Mantle is the productive alter ego of London-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Mark Ellis, most often in collaboration with Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance, with whom Ellis occasionally appears on the side. Elijah's Mantle is a project of almost obsessive specificity of theme, a theme which can only be described by a line from the group's press kit: "The legacy of the gnostic heretics and the supplanation of the ideals and idols of the classical world by repressive Christian theology." All of the Elijah's Mantle records feature Latin and other dead-language texts sung and chanted by members of the Dublin Philharmonia and have similar-sounding titles. Not only that, but all of the album covers follow the exact same art design template, much as releases on Creed Taylor's CTI Records had in the late '60s.
That said, it turns out that these records are nowhere near as eye-rollingly pretentious as the above description sounds. Ellis happens to be a gifted composer and arranger, and the atmospheric production, usually by Perry, is dark and mysterious and usually quite lovely. The whole thing is rather like a less naff version of the horribly misguided Enigma, with clear antecedents including serious British composers like Gavin Bryars and (especially) John Tavener. Elijah's Mantle began with a full-blown aesthetic with 1993's Angels of Perversity. 1994's Remedies in Heresies and 1995's Sorrows of Sophia followed, with 1996's Betrayals and Fantasies and These Wings Without Feathers, 1997's Poets and Visionaries, 1998's Psalms From Invocations, 1999's The Soul of Romanticism, and 2000's Legacies of Corruption continuing and amplifying the themes. Along with his audio releases, Mark Ellis collaborated with filmmaker Daniel Faoro on Philosophy With a Hammer, a short film completed between 1993 and 1995 and released on video in 1995; the film assiduously explores Christian symbolism of the Renaissance and beyond by presenting tableaus in the manner of Caravaggio and La Tour to a soundtrack by Ellis and Perry. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi