Elder and the timeless lure of “Lore”

Previously unknown to me, Elder apparently made waves with the 2012 “Spires Burn/Release” E.P., though they have two full-lengths prior to that as well. I will now be heavily inclined to explore their back catalog, thanks to the powerhouse that is “Lore.”

I want to liken Elder to Earthless, though they are less noodly, less psychedelic, and quite a bit heavier. But the amazing guitar work that propels these songs is what brings to mind that other, mostly instrumental group. And that’s a major difference between the bands: unlike all but one Earthless song, Elder has vocals. Nick DiSalvo’s voice is incredibly familiar, yet I have not been able to nail it down. It lies somewhere amongst Perry Farrell and the Jasons from ASG and Solace, but in a lower register. It is neither noteworthy nor problematic, but it can be forgiven because Mr. DiSalvo is also the guitarist. I give him plenty of leeway for pulling off the licks that he does; singing is secondary.

Lore is epically epic on an epic scale. The five tracks total a running time of nearly one hour, with the title track alone clocking in at nearly 16 minutes. Yet it manages to stay engaging, only rarely revealing its length through the feel of its pace. “Compendium” kicks the doors wide open with its rollicking groove—this is the kind of song that would just kill in a live setting—before settling into a slow simmer for the mid section, the cavernous riffs trembling with gorgeous distortion. It ratchets back up a couple notches as guitar wizardry abounds and the bass and drums are in absolute lockstep—the whole, big, beautiful machine humming so smoothly and kicking out the jams like nobody’s business.

“Legend” is all chill psychedelia for the first 90 seconds, a lovely and gentle melody threaded through it, before it grows many times its size with the arrival of giant riffs. It subsides back to into a soothing lull for the first verse and when the next barrage of gargantuan riffage hits, it roars in like a muscle car tweaked to maximum performance. There are definite shades of ASG in the title track, “Lore,” a song that took a little more time to grasp but offers plenty of reward. It turns into a big jam session filled with sparkling melodies, fat chords, and the tight musicianship that is just a given by this point. “Deadweight” is a subtle track that doesn’t have the same fireworks as others, but it is superb in its own right. If anything it’s a breather after its massive predecessor and before the spectacular “Spirit at Aphelion.” This closing track immediately dazzles with its musicality, the guitar melodies dancing atop the rhythm with stunning grace and eloquence. Later, it churns and stomps through chugging riffs on its way to a final fade-out for the grand finale, thudding with wild abandon.

Elder has crafted a musician’s stoner rock record, truly tantalizing in tightness and execution, while still easily maintaining hooks and groove that compel righteous air guitar, foot tapping, and head nodding. This will live on for ages.

Prepare to rock the fuck farther out:

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