Elusive God - Trapped In A Future Unknown

21 May 2022 - Knut

Heavy Metal, Epic Doom Metal | Rafchild Records | Release date: 20 May 2022

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In 2020, the Croatian trio Elusive God released their first EP two years after their inception. It was a bold move to try to carve their place in a genre where giants of the 70s and 80s still rule. Doing this, the demands they have to meet are high - massive riffs, high pitched solos, grooving bass, diverse drumming with strong and clear vocals. On their first EP they ticked off all the checkpoints and continue doing so on their first full-length album. This is epic doom-ladden heavy metal in all its mysterious grandeur.

The initial heavy and slow riff that opens the album´s first song, ” Wrath from Above” shows their confident approach to the genre. The vocals begin with whispers and allures before it turns strong as the song´s pace picks up speed. As with all the songs on the album it follows the formula verse-chorus-verse where the always catchy chorus seems made for stadium venues with the audience to sing along. Together with the riffs and rhythm section it is powerful and engaging, not as least when the high-pitched guitar solos are thrown in. It is done with ease, but we know it takes hard work and immense creativity to write and perform this kind of music.

They keep their footing all through the album, with engaging songs scooped from the best parts of the genre. On ”Shadows, Beast, Devil” the riffs are heavier and slower and the bass rises up to steer the melody forward. The guitar builds up from low to high pitching before leading to a spot where the guitar swirls within the sound effects before it is lifted up again with a high-pitched solo backed by heavy riffs and the vocals strong and commanding as ever. It ends with melodic riffs where it conjures up a lot of imaginative or real headbanging.

On ”Worthless Words” there is a very effective quiet part that lets the music breathe a bit just before the riffs are back to drive the music forward. The bass is chugging in between to make the sonics heavy. The density opens up again with the bass playing a melodic theme below. The guitar rises to take the lead with wah-wah effects. This is not the only song where it feels like the vocals and the music are graced by the ghost of Dio and the spectre of Candlemass.

”Deception and Greed” opens with strong and memorable slow riffs, diverse drumming and the use of cymbals that push forward to the strong vocals that rise above the dense soundscape. This song is a showcase of how variable and shifty the drummer is while at the same time slowing the pace and drive it forward. The work behind the drumkit is wide ranging and towards the end turns into a drum solo as the music races forward. Before that there has been an engaging wah-wah induced guitar solo and a short burst from the bass.

”Price to Pay” might be the most doom paced song on the album as it moves forward on clay feet because the bass leads the song slowly forward through a distorted choir towards and engaging six-string solo. Heavy riffing supports the vocals until there is a new dizzying wah-wah and whammy bar-supported guitar solo. The guitar work is impressive also on ”Price to Pay” with a spectacular solo dripping of sorrow and remorse.

The album closes with ”Dreaming of reality” which opens with a guitar sounding like a sitar and thus bringing some folk inspired sonics into the music. The sitar line is repeated a couple of times, doubled with distorted wah-wah guitar. The vocals and heavy riffs are held together by prominent grooves from the bass. Towards the end of the song the riffs turn into a repetitive pattern joined by the sitar over the steady drums while the bass takes care of the melody. It ends fittingly with a lone guitar/sitar playing the melody.

Early in the 70s this new noisy kind of music was predicted a short-lived existence by the music critics. There was also a lot of confusion of what to call it. It could not be hard rock or acid rock and it certainly was not progressive rock or just rock´n´roll. Slowly, it was coined heavy metal and as soon as that happened there came an abundance of sub genres and sub-sub-sub genres. The inventors of heavy metal were soon placed in the sub-genre Doom Metal or Epic Doom Metal were Elusive God have found their footing. But sometimes, to me, Heavy Metal is just that - Heavy Metal. And Elusive God is one of those awesome bands that have picked up the baton to carry on the legacy, be it Heavy Metal or Epic Doom Metal. The legacy is in good hands with Elusive God as they master both exquisitely.