Aug 24, 2011

Elder - Dead Roots Stirring ...

I must confess I am lost for words to describe this masterpiece from Elder. Some bands match expectations with new releases, some disappoint but Elder have exceeded all possible expectations with 'Dead Roots Stirring.' I can't honestly say this is 'album of the year' as it has a couple of minor question-marks surrounding a couple of songs but this is about as good as you hope to get in the stoner-doom, sludge metal world in 2011. Their last album was amazing in as much as the band was very young as a band and as individuals; now some time has passed and they have progressed into one of finest heavy bands in the world.

It is still uncompromisingly heavy but there has been a slight shift into more progressive, complex song structures and hypnotic rhythms. They are trying to mine new ground with this album and what they have dragged up is stunning. Where as the last album was all about gargantuan monster-riffing, this album has a more cosmic, psychedelic direction which has the band pushing in all directions. If you were seeking a repeat of earlier works, you may be disappointed. There is nothing on this album to compare with the straight-ahead pulverizing riffing of a 'Riddle of Steel Pt. 1' but what it is lacking in that vein it more than makes up for it in other mind-bending ways. In my opinion, 'Dead Roots Stirring' will go down in history as their timeless masterpiece.

One thing it does have in common with the first album is it is also a 5 track album so they haven't altered the formula in that regard. If the first album was a riff-fest, this album is a pure cosmic trip of psychedelic tight-ass jamming. The opening track 'Gemini' and 'III' are two tracks that move, twist, gyrate, turn themselves inside out and still find the time to throw you a sonic curve-ball here and there. Tracks on this album are all around the 10 minute mark or more so each track has plenty of time to organically build but there is very little in the way of traditional song-structure, 'Dead Roots Stirring' is full of surprises! Vocals have changed slightly too with less lyrics overall and more of an emphasis on real singing as opposed to guttural roars and this works wonders in the originality stakes. Another great track is the title track which appears second in the albums playing order and is another monster piece of constantly, shifting musical themes while keep it immensely heavy.

The only problem and it is a very minor one is the two last tracks, 'The End' and 'Knot' have a bit too much padding with both songs seemingly going on longer for no clear reason. There is a couple of sections that seem to be just added on for the sake of filling out the time without really adding anything to the songs but like I say it is a very minor flaw and certainly doesn't change my opinion on the album which is this is one of the strongest releases of the year. 'Knot' deserves a special mention because it is more up-beat and dare I say, more perky than the usual Elder fare. But even then the intricate way the song is put together makes it a all-round winner and one of the albums most memorable tracks. Elder have progressed in ways that I doubt many people expected. I admit I thought it couldn't and wouldn't be as good as the first album but man, did they prove me wrong. This is essential and here is some massive news; All That Is Heavy has this album for sale at a special price, only $9.69 so my advice is ordered it today while the sale lasts. You wont regret it..................10/10

Elder @ Myspace
Buy It @ All That Is Heavy

Update: After further spins and much consideration I have bumped the score up to a 10. It is that good.....Ed


  1. One of the best releases of the year. It jumps around from upbeat Baroness-inspired sludge to Truckfighters-sounding stoner among other influences, but manages to stand on its own at the same time. Really a great album, to me.

  2. Impressive, to say the least. I love finding new, quality bands and these guys are the real deal!

  3. Great post, this album is killer. Have to disagree with you on 'The Knot' going on too long though, that song really cuts to the core, gets me every time!

  4. I just recently turned onto this band and can wholeheartedly agree the the 10/10 rating. Perfectly encapsulates everything worth hearing in the genre.


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