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Elder : Elder

This young band delivers some familiar-sounding Stoner Doom, but it catches your attention like few others on a first full length.

Upon first listen, the Stoner Doom that the young American band Elder plays is not too different from several other acts in the genre: the vrooming guitar, the vocals loaded with reverb and the heavy rhythms are parts of the usual lethal weapons utilized by bands such as Sloth [note by admin.: the UK Sloth], Toner Low and Sleep.

But, let’s not conlude too fast. After a couple of minutes, the music’s rhythm tends to accelerate; the guitars take off in whirling, fuzzy acid leads. Then suddenly, the good surprise: the organ bursts in and releases the pheromones of happiness. Elder’s music, that started off somewhat conventional, jumps over the wall of the Stoner Doom building and starts running into the wild.
This first track is well balanced; its gradual rise (built in two acts) around the keyboard’s arrival is damn good. At this point we're happy…we understand we may have something new here.

But the beginning of the second song brings some familiar sounds again: the riff that serves as background all along comes from a Kyuss album: the resemblance is undeniable. It is the voice that makes the difference and the relatively syncopated song built on rhythmic alternations, acceleration, deceleration, one part to the guitar, one part to the voice, one part to the drums (the drumming is top notch in each of the tracks and has a pleasing tendency to let the cymbals talk). It's a great track that is illuminated by beautiful, almost Hispanic acoustic guitar lines before the heavy groove comes and shakes the speakers again.

The sound on the third track is heavy and thick with an echo effect on the voice that strengthens its ‘guru of the desert’ side while the cyclical rhythm guitar sound shapes compact sound waves. Then the implacable locomotive stops and releases a wisp of evanescent steam: the undulating psychedelic keyboard dilutes the mass and brings that light, almost incongruous sound…a piece of anthology, no doubt.

The fourth song is more Rock n' Roll, faster and almost Grunge at times. It introduces the first long solo of the album. It’s more traditional and a little disappointing...until the band takes you by surprise once again and ventures on fully Doom ground towards the end; the rhythm trudges and crawls.

The fifth and final song only confirms the intelligence and artistic integrity of Elder's recipe: There is no recipe. A song is a complex piece of music says Elder. There are no digressions, no easy and catchy riffs… only turbulent water and swirling tides. These musicians are teeming with tantalizing ideas, allowing their music to get free from the usual patterns. Relaxed, amused, self-confident, psychedelic and haunting, this young band delivers some familiar-sounding Stoner Doom, but it catches your attention like few others on a first full length.

Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. White Walls
2. Hexe
3. Riddle of Steel Pt. 1
4. Ghost Head
5. Riddle of Steel Pt. 2

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes.

Visit the Elder bandpage.

Reviewed on 11-06-2009 by Bertrand marchal
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