Review Summary: Elder tackles desert rock
Elder is a fantastic band. In the past 10 years, we have been blessed with 2 master class stoner rock/metal albums in “Lore” and “Dead Roots Stirring.” These have stayed steadily in my rotation since their releases and never fail to impress. Although I never got around to fully spinning “Reflections of a Floating World” (which I should), I did listen to a little and thought it was great so I put this new EP on my radar as soon as it was announced. Elder has a great sound that has been slowly developing over their course as a band. There was something special about Lore; it was an epic record. The same cannot be said about this new EP.
On “The Gold and Silver Sessions,” Elder has adopted a desert rock, instrumental, psychedelic sound in which they look to create big atmospheres and jam-like song structures. It is 3 tracks long and around 37 minutes in total listening time. To be honest, it tends to drag on to the very end. That is not to say that the performances by these guys are not stellar. They do sound great in fact and the production on this EP is fantastic for that matter. Guitars are crisp, bass fills are on point and drumming to match both. There are also some synths here and there and a great organ section towards the end. However, this is a sound that has been done. It is nothing original and it is not THE Elder sound, most importantly.
All three tracks tend to do the same thing. They meander on for however long until one section comes to an end, then a different jam section commences and that will play out for a certain amount of time etc. The first track “Illusory Motion,” flaunts dreamy guitars and a psychedelic atmosphere that doesn’t really do much for the first 7ish minutes except drag and make me yawn. Would be great to play before bed. Just don’t let it exceed to the last 2 minutes because you will be met with a change in the jam again to a much heavier sound more reminiscent of their prior work. I enjoyed this part greatly when it first started but it did overstay its welcome as the song came to an end.
The centerpiece “Im Morgengrauen” features some great drumming and dreamy guitar again. At 5 minutes in length this is the shortest song of the three and probably my favorite. This sounds like a true instrumental that would fit in the middle of one of their run-of-the-mill LPs. The final track is 18 minutes in length and my god it feels like a lifetime. For the first 6-7 minutes, I was met with the same drum fill and guitar riff that repeats itself over and over again while another guitar noodles about until I was way past the point of being sick of it. Not the best start to a closer. Would’ve sufficed as elevator music with great musicians. However, towards the end an organ makes its entrance as it welcomes in the closing section of the EP. This is the best moment on this project. Big, heavy guitars come blasting in that made me go yes…YES!! THIS IS THE MOMENT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!
In the last 2 minutes of this project the true Elder from Massachusetts shows themselves in epic fashion. Unfortunately, that is all though. The EP then comes to a close and I’m left puzzled and frustrated that I wasn’t head banging the entire 37 minutes. Let me be clear, this is not a BAD EP. Don't love it nor hate it, just falls somewhere in between. Elder has taken on a desert rock vibe for this thing with some heavy psychedelia influence as well. If that is what they want to do, then so be it. They are still a fantastic band and if you are in to the whole atmospheric, jam rock vibe then I’m sure you will enjoy this rather greatly. At the end of the day, Elder can do whatever they want and I will always still respect them wholeheartedly. 2.5/5.