The 70’s never died. In fact, one could argue that the 70’s have never been as alive and well as today, thanks to a myriad of young and talented bands playing in the ancient vein of legends like Sabbath and Zeppelin. Young metallers Elder are one such band. Playing a groovy brand of stoner/doom metal, Elder have crafted an epic sonic landscape on the sophomore album, Dead Roots Stirring, and it ranks among one of the finest releases of the year.
Dead roots Stirring is made up of only five tracks, something not uncommon in the doom metal scene, or it’s stoner and sludge metal subgenres. These epic-length tracks feature all the standbys of the genre: enormous, heavy and fuzzy guitar, drone, steady drumming, crooned vocals and riffs riffs riffs riffs riffs riffs riffs riffs riffs!
The album’s 5 tracks lasst between 9 and 12 minutes each. The melodies, grooves and riffs dispersed through each are catchy and well written. Each track flows from one to the other, giving the sense the album is just a single 52-minute-long song, hearkening back to the heyday of vinyl.
The guitar tone on the album is very similar to that of Baroness, and when guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSavlo busts out a solo, he sounds as if he could be John Dyer Baizley’s long lost son. And when he wails, his vocals are reminiscent of a young Karl Simon from Gates of Slumber. Drummer Matt Couto keeps things tied together, playing steadily and with just enough flare to keep the rhythm section interesting, something that isn’t always easy to do when your tracks last as long as they do here. Bassist Jack Donovan can play, man, and that tone is heavy. It might not be Electric Wizard heavy, but the fact they can achieve this level of distortion and still deliver such clean and memorable melodies without over-doing the sludge is commendable.
Overall, the album is one solid piece of doom. Leaning more toward the stoner/prog of bands like Kylesa or Baroness rather than the sludge of Bongripper or Buzzov*en, yet still maintaining the heaviness of bands like The Gates of Slumber or the track length of Sleep, Elder’s Dead Roots Stirring offers a damn fine example of why the 70’s will live on forever through the magical power of the riff. Highly recommended.
Pros: Riffs, riffs and more riffs!; fantastic musicianship; the atmosphere and tone of the record is captivating; the album feels like one continuous jam.
Cons: Unless you really want to sit down and listen to the album, songs might be a bit daunting (but, seriously, you WANT to listen to this album.); People who don’t like doom/stoner metal best steer clear
For Fans of: Baroness, Kylesa, The Sword, Black Sabbath, Graveyard, Sleep, Gates of Slumber, Led Zeppelin, High on Fire