[Review] Elder – Innate Passage

German based Psychedelic-Progressive Rock masters Elder released their sixth studio album on November 25, 2022. Entitled “Innate Passage” and published via Stickman Records, it contains five long-form tracks between more than 8 and 14 minutes long, with two guest appearances. The band’s evolution process continues, moving further and further away from the stoner sound and adding more and more keyboards to the sound. The long suites that make up the album have a greater presence of Progressive cues and references. The album opens with “Catastasis” with an intro with guitar arpeggios, which evolves into gritty riffs, a solid rhythm section and interweaving keyboards. The band’s leaning towards prog sounds is evident, with refined synth solo inserts and conitnuous tempo changes. The vocals are dynamic and expressive, while the sound is always somewhere between Psychedelia and Prog, mature, enveloping and with heavy passages intertwined with symphonic openings. As the song progresses, the track takes on more and more Prog connotations, bringing the atmospheres of the past into a modern and markedly personal context. The following “Endless Return” opens with keyboards and an energetic rhythm section with penetrating bass lines. Excellent guitar work intertwines with the keyboards, the vocals are very intense and expressive, and alternate perfectly with the instrumental parts. the guitar offers solo cues in the first part, and continues in the instrumental sections of the song to take the lead. Another track that shows the band’s stylistic evolution between Psych and a massive dose of Prog, modern and very well constructed. “Coalescence” is developed with an elaborate rhythm section with a space rock structure, elaborate drumming and a killer bassline. The guitar works very well in melodic lines and solo inserts, while continuous tempo changes and keyboard inserts complete the sound. The atmospheres here are more dilated, with a long instrumental section that runs throughout the first part. the vocal enters, enriching the sound, and then concludes with another technical, solid instrumental section with refined textures. The longest track on the album, “Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra,” is an epic over 14 minutes long, with a cover intro. At 2 minutes, the track evolves, with a sound that shows the band’s stylistic evolution in all its glory. Heavy guitar riffs counterbalance softer passages, bringing out all the band’s compositional and performing technique. The rhythm section characterises the song with a pressing drumming full of tempo changes and full-bodied, load-bearing bass lines. All facets of the band’s sound are encapsulated in this track, from Psychedelia to Prog to forays into heavier sounds, always with technique and quality. Solo inserts, tempo changes, intertwining of guitar and keyboard and the band’s characteristic and always very dynamic vocals make this track a highlight of the album. The album ends with “The Purpose,” which shows a heavier and sometimes darker side to the band’s sound in the first part. The tempo changes soften the song in the middle part with an instrumental section of absolute value, before returning to unleashing power. A concentrate of technique and heavy sounds, where keyboard and guitar duets enhance the track. As a lover of prog sounds, I can say that I like this stylistic evolution of the band and I like it a lot. Knowing how to explore new sounds and always come up with original albums is a merit of this band, which has become a cornerstone of the worldwide rock scene. A recommended listen for the quantity and quality of the ideas it contains, the long duration of the tracks allows the band to show its full potential, alternating intense vocals with instrumental sections of absolute value. One of the best albums released this year.

Tracklist

01. Catastasis (10:50)
02. Endless Return (09:54)
03. Coalescence (09:47)
04. Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra (14:43)
05. The Purpose (08:37)

Tracklist

Nicholas DiSalvo / Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Jack Donovan / Bass
Michael Risberg / Guitar, Keyboards
Georg Edert / Drums
With:
Behrang Alavi / Additional vocals (1,2)
Fabio Cuomo / Additional keys (5)

Elder |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Soundcloud|Spotify|

Stickman Records |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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