Review Summary: Elitist take a more polyrhythm driven approach to their sophomore EP, and lose a little of their identity while they're at it.
Expectations can be a powerful thing. Many critically acclaimed bands have fallen victim to their own success. In the wake of a refreshing and enjoyable release, many artists often find themselves suddenly despised after putting out an underwhelming follow-up. Notable examples of this effect include but certainly aren't limited to: He Is Legend's Suck Out The Poison, Anberlin's "Dark Is The Way, Light is a Place," and arguably Thrice's entire career (May they rest in peace, but long live Deadbolt). While Elitist might not be quite as well-known as these bands, they certainly could have fallen victim to a similar circumstance.
After releasing their breakout EP "Caves," Southern California's Elitist proceeded to throw a giant curveball at their adoring fans in "Earth." While both albums were definitely metalcore-ish, the similarities pretty much ended there. Where "Caves" was frenetic, technical metalcore with the heart of a hardcore DIY upstart, "Earth" was heavily produced, polyrhythm-based 'djent' that had largely already been explored by neighboring bands like Volumes.
However, in situations like these, it's often helpful to consider bands not as instantly cohesive entities that mysteriously birth songs, but as constructs made up of separate and diverse individuals compromising their personal identities to create music that is satisfactory for all members. A team effort, if you will.
Furthermore, it is illuminating to recognize that any given band's EP or LP represents only one facet of the larger body of work; one point in time. In this light, "Earth" seems less of a failure to impress, but rather an experiment that didn't quite hit the mark with its fanbase. Kind of like the band's awkward, zit-stricken adolescence.
Make no mistake, "Earth" may not be the album we were all expecting from Elitist, but it certainly raises no doubts about the band's drive or talent. Sure, they may have gone a little overboard with some of the recurring melodic riffs, but to be fair, they are pretty cool riffs. Maybe the relatively predictable chugs, breakdowns, and melodies may be a bit overdone, but their muscianship is still sound, and they have plenty of room to grow before releasing a full-length.
To me, "Earth" is an EP that reflects a young, impressionable band struggling to find their niche in the crowded modern metalcore scene. Let them develop their songwriting, lyricism, and cohesion, and they may impress us yet.