Album #104: Elder – Omens

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Label: Stickman
  • Best Track: In Procession

Like the week before, yesterday wasn’t the most attractive of Fridays for new albums for me, but I was keen to hear this fifth studio album (I think – their back catalogue is full of EPs and live albums) from the prog-rock, doom-metal, whatever-you-want-to-call them four-piece Elder.

People with more knowledge of this sort of stuff than me talk of how much this band have developed and changed their sound over time. I don’t hear that much of this myself, although the metal aspect of their sound is less notable on recent releases. That’s not a criticism though, as they have crafted a unique sound of complex, metal-tinged soundscapes and vocals that, rather than simply being a vehicle to shift the music along, are positioned at the forefront and provide a post-hardcore-style snarl rarely heard in this genre of elongated epics.

Sometimes these albums with four or five 10-minute-plus tracks lose me a bit, but I like what Elder do. The tempo, volume and intensity fluctuates, and they don’t just play the hell out of the same riff.

The tracks ‘In Procession’ and ‘Embers’ are the ones that keep my attention the best, with strong choruses (if a 10-minute track can be said to have a chorus), but the largely instrumental ‘Halcyon’, with faint rings of Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’, is another one to lose yourself in.

Now and again it gets a little too noodly for my liking, but Elder do what they do very well. Omens has something every rock fan can appreciate, and it might even open their eyes to something they previous didn’t.

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