How do you top an excellent album like 2011’s Dead Roots Stirring? Easy. You wait four years and drop a masterpiece.
From the moment I pressed play on Lore, the latest album from Elder, I knew it was special. Different. The whirling guitars of intro track “Compendium” signaled another step in the band’s evolution. While their classic/psychedelic rock influences are present at an all-time high, this record hints at yet more stylistical cues. The songs are long and filled with different sections, like Dead Roots Stirring was. This time, however, they’re even more dynamic. Dichotomy is what defines this LP – quiet & loud, acoustic & electric, gently overdriven & heavily fuzzed, to name a few. Because of this, Lore has a progressive rock feel not found in its predecessor.
In addition, instrumental passages neatly placed throughout the album sometimes see the band reaching for post-rock territory. The effect is the “painting” of sonical landscapes. I realize this is the utmost cliché, but I’ll be doomed if these aren’t some of the most beautiful soundscapes ever painted by a metal band. By listening to the second song in this LP, “Legend”, you can see for yourself how all of the aforementioned musical elements come together seamlessly. Never contrived, nor forced.
To experience Lore in its entirety is to travel through an unknown, alien land. Not because it’s terrifying or unnerving, but rather because everything is new and fascinating. Have you ever been on a long road trip, or perhaps a long hike? The feeling of looking through the window for a while, just absorbing the surroundings in motion is exactly what Elder elicits. Thankfully, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Praise is due to the stellar rhythm section that commands the journey. The drumming is tight and varied, pummeling in the heaviest moments and consciously seceding in moments of introspection. The syncopated patterns on the beginning of “Spirit At Aphelion” are most definitely a highlight. The bass just seems to wrap itself around your body in a warm embrace. On quiet passages, you can feel it in your bones.
If the rhythm section is in the driver’s seat or represents the pace of your feet, the guitars are the wanderings and musings of your imagination. Leads and licks are so ubiquitous throughout the record, so perfectly crafted, that they possess a certain stream-of-consciousness characteristic that is hard to describe; the sensation provoked is that of suspension, of elevation. But flying high is not everything the guitar does. In fact, every track features at least one main riff that carries that earthy guitar tone, the one oh-so-irresistible to any stoner metal appreciator. The vocals are delightful, although not used very often. In this case, it is a good thing, for everytime Disalvo’s voice comes in it seems like it’s absolutely vital to that portion of the song.
If I was to describe Elder’s latest album in one word, it would be riveting. Every second of this LP demands your attention. Dichotomy is once again present, as you can choose to immerse yourself and listen to the entire record, or prefer to have shorter trips with the individual songs. They all work perfectly as separate pieces. Regardless of how you decide to unravel Lore‘s mysteries, you are in for a treat.
Lore was released on February 28th via Stickman Records. You can purchase a digital copy on Bandcamp, or a variety of physical formats here. Be sure to give them a like on Facebook, too. They deserve it.