24 Apr 2020 - Thorsten
Progressive-Stoner | Stickman Music | Release date: 24 Apr 2020
Elder shows once again why are the number one band for progressive sludgey Stoner sounds!
Always one of the most refreshing things in music are well-established bands with a good reputation and a strong following being able to re-invent their sound and style and still getting away with it because of sheer musical joy and quality. Think of Celtic Frost and their turn towards a darker and yet more progressive side of black metal with Monotheist (as a positive example, or Dredg and their last record if you want a negative example). Elder just did that very same thing, the highly popular stoner rock band has re-invented their sound-verse a few years ago and now follow this wide open future with Omens, the seventh regular full-length for the Berlin, Germany-based Heavy Rock band.
The songwriting has taken another massive step forwards and the ‘anything goes’-attitude definitely knows no boundaries on this meticulous record. There is nearly no genre untouched on Omens and the five songs with 55 minutes running time deliver big. Of course, the basis is still heavy rock and the sound is also still strongly stoner-influenced. However, the soundscapes alterations can come any second and nevertheless contribute to an immense gratifying whole.
The new line-up of singer Nicholas DiSalvo and Michael Risberg on the guitars and the keyboards, Jack Donvan on the bass and Georg Edert behind the drums is able to progress from the mind-blowing 2017 release Reflections of a Floating World and keep its own identity at the same time which means that we witness unique combinations of space rock (with some quirky sounds speeding from right to left) and simultaneously heavy repetitive patterns. New drummer Georg Edert, together with his team-mate bassist Jack Donvan, needs to be mentioned here singularly because it is always difficult to enter such a strong line-up and not feel nervously. But his perfectly timed rhythms and nicely balanced drum patterns and fills give the long instrumental passage a more than solid foundation not to forget amid all the guitar tornadoes of riffs, solo and licks. He has so much near jazzy drive in his toms and such an undeniably eloquent use of the cymbals that one wonders whether they found an incarnation of Shiva serving the purpose of driving that will keep many heads nodding and feet moving at the same time.
This version of Elder might be a bit poppier than before and a bit more accessible but damned be if it turns out any less successful. Elder have found a niche which only they inhibit, not because nobody else wants to, but because the level of their skills cannot be matched easily.