"Omens" (Armageddon; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When you look at an album's tracklisting, and there's only five tracks, you know you're looking at one of two things. Either the album is an EP or the tracks have really long time durations. So, when I started to listen to Elder's "Omens," and saw there were only five tracks, I took a look at the durations.

Track 1: 11:05, Track 2: 13:08, Track 3: 9:34, Track 4: 11:09, Track 5: 11:29.

Them's some serious time durations. But I have no problem with that. Some of the greatest songs of all time have long running times (Iron Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," for example, coming in at over thirteen minutes) and, in this day of stoner rock, even thirteen minutes can be considered a short track.

And, although there are definitely some stoner rock touches on Elder's "Omens," this isn't one of those downtuned, fuzz albums (not that there's anything wrong with that). The five tracks on "Omens" are epic, story-telling tracks, mostly instrumental journeys and soundscapes that take the listener on a musical journey that you're glad to go along with. Although the music is heavy, it's not bowel-shaking heavy. The band moves along at their own pace, which is neither slow (a la Sleep) or fast (a la Iron Maiden). And it's the perfect pace. Each track moves along on its own time frame, telling its story, and holding your attention through the entire running length.

Interestingly, the band that came to mind the most often as I listened to "Omens" was Tangerine Dream and, for those of you who don't know, I am a huge Tangerine Dream fan. Elder's "Omens" doesn't have the synthesizers that Tangerine Dream is famous for, and Elder's music isn't nearly as (for lack of a better word) computerized. But the pace and the storytelling are the same, and the music just as involving. This is great music to listen to sitting down, headphones on, letting the musical waves wash over you.

i was actually surprised to see that we here at Rough Edge had reviewed the band's self-titled debut CD (see below). Now I have to hunt that down and give it another listen. Based on what Mike SOS wrote about them back in 2008, the band's earlier sound then was a little heavier on the stoner vibe. I can still hear that on "Omens" but I think the band has inched away from that somewhat here. We'll see.

 For more information, check out http://www.beholdtheelder.com.

"Elder" (Meteor City; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Prepare to blast off into the galaxy with Elder and their eponymous five-track jaunt that reaches to infinity and beyond.

Capturing the space rock vibe down to each throbbing bass note, stabilizing scrawl of feedback, and cosmic guitar riff, this nubile Massachusetts trio mold themselves after bands like Sleep and Electric Wizard, imbibing the magic seeds and elixirs of the likes of Sabbath and Yob to accommodate the outer limits funk on cuts like "Ghost Head."

Adorned with an abundance of swirling rhythms whose mammoth gravitational pull recalls the works of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu, there's a whole new world waiting for you once you strap yourself into this interplanetary album's wild eyed ride.

For more information, check out http://www.beholdtheelder.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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