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Elephant Tree - Elephant Tree Award winner

Elephant Tree
Elephant Tree
by Sammy M at 30 July 2016, 11:33 PM

The “stoner metal” genre or scene seems to be growing rapidly over the last few years. With the massive success of bands like MASTODON, WINDHAND, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, and more within the metal scene and now getting a larger recognition across the board, it’s like it’s become more accepted for this almost experimental genre of music to start coming out of the woodwork. ELEPHANT TREE fits right in to this mould. Blending that groovy stoner sound with blues, and a touch of doom metal much like the afore mentioned MASTODON, ELEPHANT TREE have perfected their art to such a fine degree that you would expect them to have been working together as a solid unit for decades.

However the self-titled album ELEPHANT TREE is in fact the debut from these London based metallers. They formed in 2014 and truly found their sound with the addition of Riley Macintyre. It’s extremely unusual to find a sitar player in such a scene but Macintyre shows that his skills are very much a fantastic addition that gives ELEPHANT TREE their unique sound in a genre that often tends to sound the same. The lazy but somewhat chilling vocals of Jack Townley, Peter Holland, and (again) Riley Macintyre blend together extremely well in their melancholy harmonies over the droning and distorted guitar, the grooving bass, and the cymbal heavy drumming of Sam Hart. This drumming is shown off well on “Aphotic Blues” with how effortlessly Hart completely changes the timing. It’s a little jarring but it suits the song and shows a level of skill from the drummer.

As I listen to this album over and over, I’m trying to find a weakness. Originally I though there may have been a certain lack of originality, but that sitar completely discards that idea. Perhaps that there may not be that much in the way of repeat play value? Nope, I’ve been listening to this same album multiples times per day for the last week. It seems that there isn’t a weakness to this album. With groovy doom tracks like “Wither”, to the beautiful and haunting  “Circles”. The album starts slow before actually getting in to the music, as “Spore” is more like ambient noise, however right from the start, and up until the end of the absolutely fantastic closing song “Surma”, I was completely hooked and couldn’t wait to go back and listen again. Every song on this album offers a great taste of stoner metal and gives proof of why this genre is expanding so much. It has a lot more to offer than what many may have originally thought with so much about the music not being noticed until multiple plays later. It’s an incredibly rich and detailed sound when done right, and ELEPHANT TREE completely hits it out of the park.

This is probably the single best debut album that I’ve heard since THEM CROOKED VULTURES, with ELEPHANT TREE showing us exactly what is so good and so appealing about stoner metal. With the amount of bands coming out in this genre offering us nothing new or exciting, it’s great to see that there are some who find a way to greatly impress. Anyone with an interest in doom or stoner metal, or in fact anyone who likes their metal non-aggressive and somewhat mellow should absolutely give this gem a go.

Songwriting: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Memorability: 10/10
Production: 9/10

 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Spore
2. Wither
3. Dawn
4. Circles
5. Aphotic Blues
6. Echoes
7. Fracture
8. Surma
Lineup:
Jack Townley – Vocals/Guitar
Peter Holland – Vocals/Bass
Riley Macintyre  – Vocals/Sitar
Sam Hart – Drums
Record Label: Magnetic Eye Records
     


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Edited 03 December 2022
 

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