Formed in 2006 on a foundation of sludgy doom, Elder has been riding the stoner music wave for well over a decade. However, the quartet has redefined their sound immensely over the years. On recent releases, Elder has expanded their musical offerings to blend the heavy hitting doom of their early years with a unique mix of psychedelic soundscapes and rock n’ roll grooves. The Elder discography paints a canvas of abstract art and they don’t appear to be altering that formula anytime soon.
On April 24th, Elder will release their fifth full-length album, Omens. This album brings the band’s songwriting to some unfamiliar territories. One of the main contributing factors to the change of their songwriting dynamic on Omens is the addition of two new members, Michael Risberg on guitars and Georg Edert on drums. Nicholas DiSalvo (guitars, vocal, keyboards) and Jack Donovan (bass) complete the line-up for this recording, along with a special guest appearance by Fabio Cuomo on the keyboards.
Omens offers an unrivaled mix of song structures that unfold in lengthy fashion. Consisting of five tracks, all reaching well beyond the nine minute mark, Omens takes the listener on a musical journey. The album opens up with the title track, “Omens.” Beginning with a trippy synthesized intro, “Omens” forces the listener to disregard any preconceived notions as to what they thought Elder would offer up with this release. The wildly creative synthesized sounds forge a mysterious and often funky atmosphere that carries on throughout the album.
Don’t let the lengthy tracks scare you off. Elder lets the music flow organically throughout each track, nothing seems forced. The variety of melodic solos, precision drumming, haunting vocals, and heavy breakdowns will hold your attention. “In Procession” offers up an arsenal of ‘70’s sounding guitar effects that are melded seamlessly with modern riff progressions. There’s even a synthesizer solo that had me thinking that this must be what it would sound like if Styx were to create a modern, progressive rock album.
Omens incorporates influences from a plethora of genres that oddly all work together quite well. “Halcyon” is another track with several extended, spaced out jam sessions that will have your imagination running wild. The psychedelic tracks are backed by a storyline of the downfall of civilization and destruction of our environment as a result of greed.
Elder has released the track “Embers” as a single off the album for your listening pleasure. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Even after almost 11 minutes, you’ll be wanting more and it will give you an idea as to what the rest of this record has to offer when it’s released later this week. In the current state of our world, we could all use a little escape from reality. Omens provides the perfect soundtrack for these trying times and is sure to be a contender for a lot of folks’ album of the year list.
– Corey Smith