E’last have made their first comeback with the title track “Tears of Chaos” only five months after their debut last summer. The E Entertainment boys have garnered a lot of attention for their nostalgic second-generation K-pop sounds mixed with contemporary productions.

The rookie group returns with seven of the eight members due to Wonjun’s clashing schedules with a running TV show Boni Hani. Despite being a member down, E’last maintained their momentum and presented another powerful performance.

“Tears of Chaos” follows on from the boys’ internal struggles in their debut track “Swear”. The MV is sombre in its disposition, as they recall a beautiful past and are unable to recognise who they have become.

Setting the tone of the MV, Wonhyuk starts things up with confrontational lyrics: “there’s no turning back now” standing in a dark set surrounded by candle lights. At the tick of the clock, the scene transitions to Seungyeop waking up in the forest furnished with antique furniture and blank canvases.

Time is a concept that is reiterated from their previous release with shots of antique clocks, pocket watches, and added sound effects. Time seems to be one of the culprits to E’last’s inability to recognise themselves, creating internal confusion and conflict.

“Tears of Chaos” remains slow in tempo as Baekyeul and Seungyeop sing about memories of better times. As the pre-chorus builds up with the introduction of the instrumentals, Seungyeop picks up a Zoetrope and the scene transitions to Yejun in a blue set in a Zoetrope structure.

Mimicking the spinning effect of the Zoetrope, the camera spins around the blue set to reveal the boys collectively breaking into hard-hitting choreography within their blue Zoetrope. The atmosphere changes, anticipating the drop of the chorus.

The chorus unexpectedly changes up in melody to break the track away from being a conventional piece. Although it may be an unusual and ambitious choice in melody, it’s certainly climactic and filled with angst. The change in direction of the track could go either way for listeners; it could be an appreciated hit or an awkward miss (with hopes it grows with more listens).

After getting over the surprise of the chorus, the repetition of the lyrics becomes noticeable. At first, it’s not an issue but eventually loses its novelty upon repetition.

When the tears are filled up, it becomes completely yours
When the tears are filled up, it becomes completely yours
When the tears are filled up, everything will be forgotten
When the tears are filled up, everything will be forgotten

What is noticeable about the chorus is how the differences in the boys’ voices are stifled. Despite each vocalist taking a turn to sing the chorus, the production blends their tones to sound almost indistinguishable. It’s not clear if that is intentional but it’s quite disappointing. E’last have shown impressive vocal capabilities that could elevate the track. The chorus is symphonic and powerful as its own entity– the boys’ performance almost distracts from the abruptness of the switch up.

Despite mixed feelings about the chorus, the choreography and performative elements of the MV more than makes up for it. E’last further explore the concept of duality and translate their battles and face their fears with hard-hitting choreography.

A great example is both Rano and Wonhyuk performance of the internal dialogue during their rap parts. The performance is well executed and effectively draws a visual representation. It’s further enhanced by the revolving camera angles that create an escalating tension to the narrative.

The choreography does well in rounding up the narrative and adding layers to the MV. The forceful nature of the conflict is also expressed in the choreography when the members dramatically catapult Choi In into the air. Simultaneously, Seungyeop is also dragged through the gate into the parallel universe and is forced to face the darkness.

Alas, the battle is lost, as Seungyeop wakes up, decked in dark attire, within a dark and rainy setting. Although most would hope for a happier ending to this sequel, it could hopefully lead to a trilogy continuing their story of self-discovery.

Battles with internal darkness and the road to self-discovery are not novel concepts. However, E’last’s efforts of getting their message across are not lost.

As a rookie group coming into a vast trend following scene, it’s brave to steer away from riding the waves of tried and tested trends. It seems that they intend to create a distinctive sound and look for themselves, which makes them memorable and unique. After seeing what they have already offered, it’s exciting to see what the future holds for them.

(Youtube. Lyrics via Youtube.Images via E Entertainment)