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Mellotron Storm
4 stars ELDER are a band out of Boston who play a heavy style of Metal on this particular album. I understand they change somewhat from record to record but I haven't heard any of their other albums yet. The Previous album "Lore" is apparently a sludgy, doom driven recording that blew a lot of people away. They are a trio and DiSalvo the guitarist also plays mellotron to my great surprise. I would describe "Reflections On A Floating World" as heavy but not doom-like and we do get lots of contrasts with the heaviness. I read one reviewer who said the vocals on "Lore" were distant, almost buried in the mix but not so here, and he almost shouts the lyrics.

DiSalvo mentioned in an interview that the title of this album comes from a Japanese term "The Floating World" which refers to a particular period in Japanese history where the arts were flourishing but also there was a self-destructive decadent lifestyle. It seemed appropriate to DiSalvo to name this album as such considering the times we live in in 2017. Interesting to me that JADE WARRIOR had an album named "The Floating World" with Japanese artwork. Oh we do get a couple of guests on here adding keys and guitar.

"Sanctuary" is a song that sort of typifies this album with the contrasts between the heavy and calm plus the amazing guitar work, especially after 4 minutes as he lights it up. Lots of feedback around 9 minutes.

"The Falling Veil" opens with atmosphere as sounds come and go. It kicks into gear around 1 1/2 minutes and vocals a minute after that. Love the way the guitar grinds away, just churning out the metal. A real shred-fest here at times. But check out the majestic mellotron 7 1/2 minutes in as it will go on and on as metal flies everywhere.

"Starving Off The Truth" is a kick-ass tune with vocals and a lot of heaviness. An interesting calm with keys starting before 4 1/2 minutes but the guitar and drums are back quickly as it slowly builds back to that heavy onslaught. Great sound when the vocals return.

"Blind" is the longest track at 13 1/2 minutes although the shortest is almost 9 minutes long. Kind of an experimental intro before it kicks in heavily. A calm before 2 minutes with vocals and piano. The heaviness explodes upon the soundscape rather quickly. Vocals will come and go the rest of the way. I like that determined rhythm around 11 minutes.

"Sonntag" might be the shortest song on here but it's also my favourite. Atmosphere, picked guitars and bass to start. How good is this when the tempo slowly starts to speed up(haha). I like this a lot. The atmosphere takes over 8 minutes in to the end. Love the groove to this one.

"Thousand Hands" is a great closer that seems to touch on all the things I like about this album. The amazing guitar early on and of course on and off throughout, the mellotron starting before 3 1/2 minutes along with the vocals and the calm sections.

It will be interesting to see how this stacks up with their earlier albums once I hear them. A solid 4 stars for sure.

Report this review (#1826015)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hailing from Boston, these heavy proggers toe an almost-grungy LED ZEPPELIN line as they jam along--never less than eight minutes. The band has great ideas, great aspirations, and a great sound, however, I see room for growth: more sophistication, more diversity in singing styles (or voices), and maybe even some improvement in recording engineering (bringing things more forward in the mix.

1. "Sanctuary" (11:14) opens with a delightful chunky heaviness that is lost a little during guitar soloing--a midsection that sounds a LOT like a cross between 1970s LED ZEPPELIN and THIN LIZZY. The vocals could be a little stronger, more prominent. (8.5/10)

2. "The Falling Veil" (11:13) opens with some gentle "get to know me" front-porch guitar picking before the song leaps into full gear in a SEVEN IMPALE and LED ZEPPELIN way. The spacious, "far away" effect on the vocal is more appropriate for this heavy rocker. I LOVE the soft, down section in the eighth minute and the Mellotron-drenched section that follows. This song just keeps better the longer it plays! Reminds me a lot of the power and talent of GHOST MEDICINE's Jared Leach. (9/10)

3. "Staving Off Truth "(10:18) beautiful opening before bursting into a djenty tour de force at 1:15. By the time the vocals join in, the song has settled into a kind of ALICE IN CHAINS sound and feel. Awesome! Another awesome down tempo section begins at the end of the fifth minute and turns into a cool YES/ALLMAN BROTHERS section thanks to the pedal steel guitar. Around 6:30 things revert back to the AinC style/sound only with a less insistent vocal, but then at 7:03 things shift into a brief two-guitar picking distant drum section before amping back up into the heavier stuff (again reminding me of a heavier THIN LIZZY). Nice drumming on display on this one! (9/10)

4. "Blind" (13:24) opens with the sound so mucked up that I thought something was wrong with my headphones' connection the first time I heard it. But after about half a minute the "joke" is played out and the rockin' groove comes forth in full force and full focus. Unexpectedly, soon after all instruments save for an "distant" electric piano and organ/synth drop out while a distant voice sings in a newsy voice. Once he finishes stating his plaintive case, the grunge returns--and eventually the singer sings--in the same voice and mix using the same melody as before--over the heavy stuff. At 4:30 there is shift into a section based on an arpeggiated riff from the electric piano. The drums shift and the rest of the band gradually join in pumping out another great multi-guitar weave of heavy prog. Nice, interesting song full of unexpected shifts and turns. The final two minutes is the real highlight with a crashing meeting of passion coming from all the instrumentalists at the same time, yielding an awesome crescendo. (8.5/10)

5. "Sonntag" (8:40) I get the Krautrock references to this song but the instrumental contributions here are a little too sparse, unchanging, and the groove not as hypnotizing as many great German songs of the 1970s. Plus, there are a couple of times that the drummer seems to loose his concentration, connection, or enthusiasm for the kind of Jaki Liebezeit beat the song really requires. (8/10)

6. "Thousand Hands" (9:37) One of my favorite prog epics of the year--thanks in no small part to some great guitar weaves, great drumming, awesome Mellotron use, catchy chord progressions and melodies, and the most fitting vocals on the album! Another song in which the second half surpasses the (awesome) first half. (9.5/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and certainly a band with tremendous potential. Though I liked their previous release, Lore, better, I am not displeased with this slight shift in direction--and I can't wait to see what they do next!

Report this review (#1840937)
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | Review Permalink

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