by Mark Hensch
Elder is a fitting name for this Fairhaven, Massachusetts doom trio. Rather than try fusing a bunch of influences into a jumbled, messy take on the future, Elder instead immerses itself into the primordial glop of doom from the past. Old and eldritch acts like Black Sabbath, Sleep, and Electric Wizard are the order of the day here and Elder plays such a brand of heavy metal with feeling. Progressing by regressing, Elder have crafted a self-titled homage to some of doom's most influential acts.
It is apparent by even the first song ("White Walls") that this will be nothing besides a convicted worshipping of the classics. "Walls" contains the breezy rhythm section of Sabbath, the low-end groove of the Wizard, and the mystical, ringing riffage of Sleep. Equal parts melodic, stoned, and sludgy, the whole thing is so aged it smells fresh.
"Hexe," for its part, lays down wall-crumbling riffs which plod like an army of war elephants. Leading the procession is a mixture of dire howls, slowly-burning guitar leads, and dynamic shifts between glacial and warmongering tempos.
"Riddle of Steel Pt. 1," meanwhile, slowly bows its riffs before Sleep's Holy Mountain while hailing the might of Conan the Barbarian. In truly epic fashion, it attacks with fuzzy and militant grooves, the likes of which soon lead into a flurry of stabbing leads. No matter what is going on, however, the song simply flat out rocks every step of the way.
Following this, "Ghost Head" chills things out a bit with a slow drum jam backed by some big 'n easy guitars. The whole thing sounds like a breezy joyride in a souped-up muscle car, the likes of which is driven by Fu Manchu but has Orange Goblin blasting from the stereo.
Last but not least, the Conan saga reaches its conclusion with the equally mythical "Riddle of Steel Pt. 2." In this halve, the song enters a hazy void of exuberant, lush doom. The solos are patient, tasteful, and ripping, ending an album like this on a high note.
All-in-all, hearing an album in this vein is like seeing a dinosaur on the streets of a metropolitan city. Though it is not anything new, it is majestic, fierce, and inspirational. For a debut album, Elder have carved a pretty strong gouge into the old oak that is doom, and my guess is that the tree will only grow higher from here.
Riddle of Steel Pt. 1
Riddle of Steel Pt. 2
CD Info and Links
Preview and Purchase This CD Online
Visit the official homepage
More articles for this artist
tell a friend about this review
Thrash Worthy Link