Elder - The Gold & Silver Sessions review

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Band: Elder
Album: The Gold & Silver Sessions
Release date: July 2019

01. Illusory Motion
02. Im Morgengrauen
03. Weißensee

Since Dead Roots Stirring, Elder have increasingly come to dominate the progressive stoner metal niche (well, aside from Mastodon) with their mix of crunchy, fuzzy riffs, extended instrumental detours, and psychedelic, atmospheric tendencies. Their last full-length saw them putting a slightly greater emphasis on the more expansive elements of their sounds, which are now front and centre on The Gold & Silver Sessions, described by the band as "an experimental EP of ranging psychedelic jams".

Elder have already stated that they have a new full-length in the works, so this particular effort feels like a chance to try out some new directions that don't quite fit within the band's "regular" sound. Fear not, this is not a complete departure; there are plenty of moments here that are recognizable as Elder, just more along the lines of the softer, jam-like sections in their songs. As far as differences go, the clearest discrepancy here compared with their LPs is the purely instrumental approach - no hazy vocals to structure these songs around. Also missing, by and large, is the heavier, crunchier side of the band. Aside from the somewhat grandstanding closing moments of the album (which are heralded by some rather dramatic organs), the only other part in which the volume is particularly raised is late on in "Illusory Motion", when the band channels the fuzzy desert rock sound to an unusually high degree. Otherwise, this EP is happy to meander through patient, contemplative jams with no intention of upping the tempo or intensity, most notably during the extended closer, "Weißensee".

By adopting this approach, Elder pit themselves against the onslaught of groups practicing a chillaxed, jam-like vibe with their various similar spins on instrumental psychedelic/stoner rock. Furthermore, there's nothing particularly original about this particular sound to elevate them in terms of novelty. In order to stand out, they rely on the only thing they can: being good. There's nothing specific I can put my finger on and isolate, but even with the saturation of this niche, I find this to have a clear pull that many of the artists that wind up on the Stoned Meadow of Doom YouTube channel, as enjoyable as they are, don't manage to quite accomplish. It's an incredibly easy yet rewarding re-listen; I must be into double digits in terms of replays since it came out (three days ago at the time of writing) from working on this review, and have had no fatigue thus far. It's not perfect - I personally could do without the desert rock section in "Illusory Motion", and I feel like they could have adopted some of the emotional heft that they infused into their instrumental work on the likes of "Blind" and "Lore" from previous albums here; however, aside from that, this is another accomplished work from an exciting band.

As a fan of their previous efforts, I am looking forward to the heavier side and vocals returning on their next full-length. In the meantime, however, this is an enjoyable and engaging spin at an oft-repeated sound, and another strong demonstration of Elder's capabilities.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 8


Written on 18.07.2019 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 5   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 78 users
18.07.2019 - 14:24
I never got into this band but in this EP I like the more psychedelic, jam-like and more-rock-than-metal shift.
18.07.2019 - 15:53
Written by nikarg on 18.07.2019 at 14:24

I never got into this band but in this EP I like the more psychedelic, jam-like and more-rock-than-metal shift.

I certainly wouldn't want them to stick with this sound, as I'm fond of Lore and Reflections of a Floating World, but it's a nice change of sound for a one-off EP and it makes for very easy listening.
18.07.2019 - 16:13
I remember listening to this band a while ago and thinking their sound was too Mastodon-ish, have they changed that much?
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
19.07.2019 - 09:28
Written by Apothecary on 18.07.2019 at 16:13

I remember listening to this band a while ago and thinking their sound was too Mastodon-ish, have they changed that much?

That was probably Lore; I don't think that album is super Mastodon-ish but there's clear influences in some of the guitar playing on that album. I feel like those influences were less obvious on their last album (Reflections), and they're not particularly noticeable here in my opinion
25.07.2019 - 02:41
At best deranged
I'd rate this around 7.5. It's enjoyable for what it is but it's not that memorable imo. It's like you mentioned in your review. There's nothing particularly original about this record. But it's played well and is overall an enjoyable experience.

Solid stuff.

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