Review Summary: Rock that carries you...
It's becoming increasingly difficult for rockers to establish themselves as an exceptional act in a genre that has seen more augmentation than anyone thought possible. Hard rock in particular has taken a serious plunge towards obscurity, gradually dropping out of the mainstream in favor of a more indie/folk style. However, especially in more recent years, stoner rock has had a tight foothold in the underground rock community by chugging out stimulating new outfits such as Graveyard, The Black Angels, and countless others that have kept the tradition alive since the early 90's. Stoner rock has not only hooked the attention of rockers but also fans of blues, psychedelic, and of course heavy metal. That's because all of these components are key in the creation of stoner rock which is why it's such a diverse genre. Of course many bands tend to lean towards any of the four corners a bit, but not Boston based Elder whose sound intercedes in style to such an extent that it's hard for anyone to find a reason not to love them.
Their newest album, entitled Lore
, is without a doubt their best to date. Yes that's quite a bold statement but there's valid reasoning behind it. Lore
is intricate. It covers more ground in just five tracks than most other bands can fit onto twice that many. Now that isn't saying much considering all five average about ten minutes each, but in such a time frame lies progressive intensity ranging from emphatic breakdowns to occasional subtle bridges which quickly switch back into lengthy jam sessions that could continue indefinitely. The energy is non-stop, being evenly distributed in the music, vocals, and lyrics that are each spotlighted without being overshadowed by one another. That being said, Lore
does an excellent job of not stretching out longer than it needs to be. Instrumentals typically dominate much of the music while vocals are incorporated irregularly but effectively.
The Production of the album is certainly one of its salient strong points. The progression of Lore
is monitored carefully so as not to hasten the switch into a new musical direction. This greatly maintains the overall flow and helps the listener settle in and get a good feel of one section of the track before moving onto the next one. Lore
is anything but predictable which is actually a good thing because the activity is meant to give the listener a sense of scenic exploration into uncharted territory, blowing hot and cold when they least expect it. There is never a clear indication when a song may change or even end which encourages those listening to unconsciously follow wherever it is the music may take them.
None of the songs on Lore
can be seen as memorable in the sense that each is dynamic beyond the point of any noticeable consistency. The tracks are likely elongated to discourage any need for skips or repeats. Lore
is meant to be experienced cover to cover to really capture the sense of atmosphere the album is trying to project. Lore
isn't so much an album as is a composition almost evocative of a single entity rather than a collection of individual recordings. While most other albums follow along a rail going in one direction, Lore
mainly just floats in any which way never sticking to one course or pattern. Elder have created a milestone for the modern stoner rock scene that will certainly encourage bands to follow a similar sense of free spirited writing and maybe even expand on such a style. With albums like Lore
being released so early in the New Year, it's hard to understand why anyone would think that rock has lost its way.