ELDER – OMENS
Nicholas DiSalvo – Guitars, vocals, keyboards
Michael Risberg – Guitars, keyboards
Jack Donvan – Bass
Georg Edert – Drums
Fabio Cuomo – (guest) keyboards
After our Kvelertak album review back in March we suggested that Splid might not be in fact the album of the year after all because Stoner\Psych\Prog geniuses Elder were releasing their latest Long Player in April.
So Dear Reader (singular obviously) as we’ve been living with Omens since 24th April where’s our Twitcoins going now for album of 2020? Well, read on, read on…
Elder’s 2017 album Reflections of a Floating World was in fact the Intertwit Album of 2019 (a prestigious annual awards event where all the staff sit in the corner of a pub debating and enthusing loudly about the music we’ve enjoyed during the year until the last man standing \ slumping chooses the winning entry). We know we were a couple of years behind on Reflections… but we’ve never been ones to jump on bandwagons and we don’t pretend to be at the beating heart of the current cultural zeitgeist. We know what we like but we take a bit of time realising it.
However, when we do find a band like Elder who we become smitten with it does mean we often find a rich back catalogue to enjoy at the same time and if you like your music heavy, melodic and long like we do (i.e. the shortest track on Omens is 9 minutes) then Elder will be right up your Strasse.
Omens comes relatively quickly after the release of 2019’s instrumental The Gold and Silver Sessions and carries on it’s experimental and loose jamming while incorporating the heaviness of Elder’s previous releases.
Omens, the title track, kicks off the album with a flourish of Fabio Cuomo’s keyboards which is an important feature of the album as a whole. Don’t worry though noise fans as the keys embellish and enhance, rather than disrupt, the overall Elder sound. Muscular riffage from Nick DiSalvo and Michael Risberg still dominate throughout as the final 3 minutes of the title track can confirm.
In Procession is a tad more laid back…well at least initially and that’s maybe because of DiSalvo’s light vocal style which is often at odds with many of today’s rock and metal vocalists out there. There’s plenty of keyboard and guitar noodling on this one and maybe the most traditionally Prog number Elder have ever done – just check out the keyboard solo.
Halcyon, the next track, is just immense. Building for 4 minutes with an almost Steve Reich-ian mathematical progression of looping guitar and pulsing synth the song builds into and builds into the main riff motif of the track. Absolutely love the last 90 seconds of triumphant fuzzed out guitars!
Embers though might be our favorite track overall as it rattles along from the start to the end of its 10 minutes and 47 seconds. Great soloing throughout and the layering of sound from 6:30 onwards is quite frankly magical. Flippin’ fabulous.
One Light Retreating finishes Omens off in style with more of the same except for the fact that (and this is our only quibble) Elder seemed to have borrowed a melody from Anathema’s “Thin Air”. Check it out and you’ll see what we mean. That aside, it’s still a great and jam-tastic way to finish a highly accomplished 55 minutes of music.
We suggest that you all listen to Omens. In many ways it’s an old school progressive piece that you need to engage with in its totality. Immerse yourself in Omens and let it take you on a journey to wherever you want to go. Right now, that’s a good thing we’d say. More power to Elder and we can’t wait to see them when we’re allowed.
But the question remains…is Omens the intertwit.com album of the year? Maybe, it’s going to be close we’d say, but we also have another couple of contenders…in a completely different vein to Kvelertak and Elder…
…more music coming soon!