[Stickman Records, 2017]
Intro: Thomas Sarakintsis
29 / 06 / 2017
Progressive rock and any intended radical approach able to reform the sound of a band. This finding seems to be adopted by Bostoners Elder, since a couple of years with the very good Lore. In their first two albums, these tendencies were not present; however, those watching closely due to the lengthy and pretty ambitious compositions -for a doom / stoner metal band- saw that there might be more heterogeneous influences in the future, diametrically opposed to the childish naivety of the many Kyuss “descendants”. Their debut album as well as the next, Dead Roots Stirring, were a mixture of muddy doom / stoner metal / heavy rock, while the penultimate Lore revealed a fondly-oriented prog character by refining their psych doom / heavy rock leaving behind their sludge / stoner side.
21st Century Heavy Prog
The tidal vortex depicted in the cover and the opposed wave torques reflect the dominant trend within the record. On one hand, the prototype doom / heavy rock riffology, on the other hand the artistic progressive side. Elder diffuse their prog aspects through six adventurous compositions with extensive theme changes.
The opener, Sanctuary, unveils their sonic concept: the blending of a 90s sound with clear prog depictions. This time the prog character seems to give the characteristic peculiarity that was not clearly defined in Lore. Their style combines the 90s with the 00s. Elder seem to have assimilated the prog sludge of Baroness and Mastodon very well (The Falling Veil and Thousand Hands reveal such influences, which however are all over the album). A meticulous listener will also distinguish some of the doom riffs of the ‘Wino Weinrich type’ (as in some moments in Sanctuary where The Hidden Hand elements can be heard, or the riff in Blind which reminds of The Sleep and The Obsessed).
The compositions show relevance, they have a beginning, middle and end, and are clearly more complete in contrast to their previous albums. The band members know how to develop their style, which they did not achieve totally in Lore. What needs to be highlighted is the way in which five out of six tracks are unfolding, a totally perfect way that only a band of such a high caliber can do so. The style of Sonntag differs from the rest of the album. This particular instrumental piece refers to European 70s ambient minimalism (mainly krautrock) and its experimental mood offers some extra variety to the album. The songs that I think stand out are the amazing Staving off Truth, Blind and Sanctuary. Di Salvo’s solos, (guitarist, singer and main songwriter), are magnificent while sounding much more targeted than in to Lore. The Falling Veil, Thousand Hands and Sonntag are also very interesting, especially the acoustic mid-point of Thousand Hands, just before the rhythm accelerates; just wonderful.
Elder focused more on the structure of the compositions and presented something more complete than their previous work. Though it may initially tire some due to the complex compositions, the first repetitions reverse this impression. I think the Bostoners crafted their most interesting album decorating a whole music scene. I doubt if this genre has something better to show us this year!
8 / 10
Taking one huge step up after another, after the amazing Lore that caused our admiration two years ago, this year’s impressive album by Elder proves to be able to overcome its predecessor. Reflections of a Floating World is probably their best moment with its epic sounds transfering the listener into the orbit of an exciting journey. References to the 70s are the permanent inspiration for the band, which is now enriched by the late 60s (Staving off Truth), post-rock and undoubtedly by Mastodon (Sanctuary is in a Crack the Skye vein). The unpretentiously large compositions are the field where colossal riffs set up unthinkable roots to distant galaxies, raiding towards unexplored worlds. Elder are now justifiably one of the greatest heavy bands of our time.
9.5 / 10