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Elusive God - The Darkest Flame Award winner

Elusive God
The Darkest Flame
by Mark Machlay at 01 September 2020, 6:26 AM

“This is doom. This is metal from Croatia.” This is the mantra that is splashed across every online domain in which ELUSIVE GOD has staked a claim. It fits the band so well, so simple, yet so profound. The band, at least for now, is completely shrouded in mystery, there is no indication as to who is in this Croatian doom metal except for an ominous photograph of three black clad figures surrounded by trees marked with pagan symbols. All the figures have their faces strategically covered to hide their identity with black cloth except for one member in the foreground who is wearing a longer jacket than the others and dons a red hood instead of black. The band longs for a return to mysticism and a focus on the music rather than extraneous information that may cloud the listener’s judgement. They proclaim this will herald the return of metal which has been burdened recently with “a complete lack of creative vision and playing by established patterns with total disregard of the mystery and visual component”. They continue to assert that metal is “over the top, mysterious, layered and it takes much more than superficial listening or consuming to delve deeper into the very message that music conveys”.

A strong visual component must also be stressed along with the musical part. On their debut EP “The Darkest Flame” the visuals of the cover offer much for the listener to interpret. As is common with doom metal, the cover is in monochrome, a pole or edifice burning atop what appears to be an enormous carefully constructed pile of rocks with the band’s name underneath in a very gothic or ritualistic motif. The four tracks are equally profound and offer much for the listener to get lost in. “Silence is Doom” offers the most BLACK SABBATH like similarities in that its main riff and surrounding vocal pattern is very reminiscent of “Electric Funeral” from their seminal “Paranoid” LP. It contains even further connection to the Ozz-man during the solo with its pentatonic scale and pinch harmonics typical of longtime Ozzy Osbourne axe-man Zakk Wylde. “The Truth Untold” continues to be less sludgy and more a mix of classic and modern doom riffs, a welcome change from all the overly saturated trudging through the lower registers of most modern doom bands. “Dream Within a Dream” does get a bit sludgier and slower but the band is great at never letting the songs feel like a slog and even picks up the pace in the end and ends up being a real rocker with double bass and all. Finally, “To Whom Do you Pray” is the longest track to take us out, it’s even slower – almost in the gutter rhythmically – but picks up at certain points and even includes an amazing solo full of wah, blues and warmth.

I’m a big fan of doom metal in general but I feel that a lot of bands have overly saturated their sound recently, introducing too much sludge and stoner metal elements to fill out their weaknesses in creativity. ELUSIVE GOD is brimming with creativity! Maybe much of that has to do with the mystifying unknown of who is behind the hoods, allowing the listener to focus on the image than the person creating the image. Needless to say, I cannot wait to hear more from this outfit. The singer sounds as if Bruce Dickinson and Tobias Forge merged, settled down and created a doom metal band in secret. The drums – particularly the snare sound in “Dream Within a Dream” – are huge as well as the toms as the drummer runs through his rolls into the unknown. By the time I reached the end I was hoping for more. Hopefully they can release a full-length album for me to pour over all its mysteries next time.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Silence is Our Doom
2. The Truth Untold
3. Dream Within a Dream
4. To Whom Do You Pray
Record Label: Solitude Productions


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