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Elder - Omens

by Neil Cook at 02 April 2020, 5:16 AM

Forming in the mid noughties in New Bedford, Massachusetts, ELDER have already released 4 studio and 1 live album and a number of EPs. Their sound has evolved overtime from their Stoner/Doom roots to cultivating psychedelic, progressive, melodic soundscape, heavy where it needs to be, a sound both modern but with its roots firmly in the 70's. The long-form musical pieces that form the 5 tracks on their 5th album “Elder” go beyond mere tunes.  Each piece having time to breath and evolve.

The opening and title track “Omens” for example builds off the organ/keyboards, the song winds its way though to a heavy-ish guitar break and on its way with a very 70's sound. The next track, “In Procession” to me has a different feel, a more modern feel underlines the more progressive elements, a harder edged, more guitar driven sound, with an equally harder feel to the vocals before reaching a more rhythmical instrumental passage, where the again the keys are the star before returning to the vocal and guitar, taking up a more strident, urgent rhythm, morphing into a gentle acoustic outro.

I will be honest at this point, this is not my normal style of music.  I am an old-school Metal Head by definition, who also loves Blues, Rock, and Rock 'n Roll in its many forms.  And whilst I have an appreciation of the likes of PINK FLOYD and GENESIS, MARILION and a bit of TULL, most of the music I listen to is perhaps a bit more direct.  But in these troubled, Covid-19, panic inducing times, I found the fact their music has time to stretch, meander and build, moving from one thing to the next.  One moment peace, the next something more powerful, changing, changing, but not in a jarring way.

Fine example of this being the track “Halcyon”. My words do not feel equipped to describe the musical nuances, but how it made me feel was relaxed and uplifted simply by the listening experience.  It allowed me to escape from all the crap of the real world for 12 minutes. “Ember” again, to me is, and this seems an odd way to describe a song nearly 11 minutes long, has an urgency about it, a more direct sound with the guitars doing more, but not all of the heavy lifting, keys and drums doing their bit, but the guitar is the star this time.

However.  As much as I found the experience different and in the main enjoyable, there were aspects which didn’t work so well for me.  I was not a fan of the final track “One Light Retreating”, which as probably the heaviest track on the album is strange.  Maybe long song fatigue had set in by here, but for me it didn’t work.  Also I wasn’t taken with the vocals in places across the album.

I am glad I got to try listening to something I normally would not, and for the most part I enjoyed, and can very much appreciate the musicianship on display.  Will I go back again, honestly, apart from “Halcyon” probably not, but to that I will.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

2. In Procession
3. Halcyon
4. Ember
5. One Light Retreating
Nicholas DiSalvo – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Michael Risberg – Guitars, Keyboards
Jack Donvan – Bass
Georg Edert  – Drums
Fabio Cuomo – (guest) Keyboards
Record Label: Armageddon Label


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Edited 28 May 2023

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