20 for ’15: Elder – Legend

Part 9 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015

I finally caught Elder back in June at The Full Moon in Cardiff. When they took the stage I was slightly disturbed to discover they all look about 12 years old. I may just be getting old and suffering the gig going persons version of, “ooh Mavis aren’t the policemen getting younger?” but it threw me to see such fresh faced youngsters tearing a room in two so effortlessly. It was brilliant, once I’d gotten over a brief moment of staring down my own mortality. I guess this is just how stuff goes as you get older. You have to spent a few more moments thinking, “shit, I’m gonna die someday and I still haven’t got around to curing cancer. Best get to the bar before it gets busy.”

I digress. When listening to Lore I wondered how a 3 piece would bring all it’s multi-tracked majesty  to the stage intact. Yet the seemed to sacrifice nothing. Pretty much the whole record was played in it’s labyrinthine glory. Minds were blown. Which cemented my view that these boys are something special. They already had something unusual in stoner/doom circles – three records which sound very different from each other but which all worked in their own right. If you were to make a “Sim Stoner Band”
game playing it would basically just involve tweaking the Sabbath/Kyuss/Blue Cheer/Blue Oyster Cult sliders
until satisfied, locking them down and pressing the ‘acoustic guitar’ button every now and again when you get bored. But Elder seem restless, determined to push forward.

I still think I prefer Dead Roots Stirring to Lore, but then my preferences tend to lean towards filth over precision. Whilst Dead Roots boasted long tracks they didn’t feel as crafted as tracks like Legend, where every note feels deliberate. It lasts 12 minutes and nothing feels extraneous. They manage to be technical without being needlessly showy, complicated without feeling like it’s for the sake of being complicated. It’s the kind of sound I usually have a natural aversion for but in Elder’s hands the honest-to-god Rock Epic actually sounds interesting and vital again. They made a convert out of this skeptic, and all while looking barely old enough to drink. Incredible.