Elder have been around for about fifteen years now, and yet to some, they remain completely unknown. Perks of being a band in the style they are, and also criminal at the same time, at how underground it still remains to be. Never resting, the band has always grown and developed with each release, no two albums are much the same, but they do follow certain traits, ‘Omens’ has them return with a five-song release, sitting in at a mammoth 56 minutes… Perfect for these long, isolated days we are currently all living under. The last few years have seen Elder release some magnificent work, 2017 saw Reflections of a Floating World, while 2019 came with The Gold and Silver Sessions EP. Both leading the way perfectly to what we have now.
Omens starts with the title track, the first notable difference is the inclusion of keys, although involved in their 2017 full length, Omens sees Elders first studio release as a full four-piece band and brings them much more to the front of the sound, blending the sound of classic psychedelic/progressive rock with the heaviness and weighty feel of the metal world akin to the Black Sabbath days. They both bounce off each other and work together harmoniously, something that recurs throughout the LP, but their shining moments come through the lengthy, instrumental passages together, contrasting electronic keys and fuzz filled guitar held up by dynamic and delicate bottom end and drums, no stone is left unturned in the search for nuance. The album follows the path created by the opener, ‘In Procession’ carrying the torch as a highlight on the album for those impressive instrumental passages, tracks like this make it sound like they genuinely had fun in the studio with this.
‘Halcyon’ takes the center stage with a strong brooding instrumental start that erupts in fantastic glory with vocals kicking in post five minutes. It’s a long winding journey of a song that has you lose yourself in without trying to oversell itself. A fitting way to lead into the already released track ‘Embers’, following suit, this lifts the pace from a stroll to something faster to get the heart racing a little more, coasting on an almost too muddy sound, the clean, mellow parts somehow shine through and fit in a beautiful juxtaposition that Elder seems to nail over and over, it brings everything into play, the coup de grâce being the build up progression towards the light solo around two thirds in.
‘One Light Retreating’ closes up shop in standard epic fashion, almost a culmination of what the previous two songs would be like if they were to come together. The swells and pullbacks have this song really build like it is growing into something to follow, the only true downside to the album, nothing comes after. Elder are masterful at their craft and so musically gifted, the recent growth from a three-piece to a full four-piece has pushed their ever growing boundaries more which can only be a good thing too. If you were to pick flaws, they would be so subjective. The mix might not be for everyone, the songs’ lengths also, possibly not for everyone, but Elder are a band that has honed their style, and they are at the pinnacle of it. Not for everyone? Definitely, but they don’t know what they’re missing, as for those that have seen the light, it’s a winner.
Elders Omens is due out April 24th via Stickman Records.