“Move over Manheim Steamroller! Elu takes holiday music to another level on December. Unlike most electronically interpreted versions of seasonal themes, Elu isn't afraid to thrown in a bit of the goth, to give the proceedings an occasionally solemnific feel.” – eMusic.com;
“Élu (Jeff Mettling) blends new age, world music, and pop sensibilities into a synthesized world of creative expression. December is a challenging adventure; it is reminiscent of Mannheim Steamroller gone goth. The tones are dark--even the album cover is dark. The presentation is riveting, but you have to be open to a totally unique approach to traditional holiday favorites.
Eight of the 9 tracks are based on well-known traditional carols, but you have never heard them done like this. This is synthesized music, and a strong percussive heartbeat underlies each song. The tone is somber, but not depressing; this music has an underlying energy that is inescapable. Although some numbers have relatively straightforward vocals, the overall emphasis is clearly on the cutting-edge instrumentation, which employs multi-tone samplers and live instruments. In Mettling's capable hands, familiar numbers take on entirely different personas, and the results are impressive.
The opening is dramatic. The sounds of bells and eerie choral tones set the stage before Carol of the Bells explodes with melodic syncopation. I also like I Saw Three Ships, which features a cool bagpipes sentiment, and Mettling's vocals on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen lift the tune to a new level.
This is the sort of album that is playable all year long. Most cuts are at least three steps removed from traditional Christmas tunes, so it's possible to enjoy the moods created here in any season.
Sick of sugary sweet holiday tunes that sound like all the rest? December may provide you with just the escape you seek.”
--Carol Swanson, Christmasreviews.com