For occult themed doom, Elder Druid certainly do pack a punch.
Not for them the usual effete 60s and 70s camp up of English castles, femmes fatales and wispy candles that often characterise that corner of the genre.
Rather, this Ballymena quintet thrust forth with an absolutely throat-bloodying performance from vocalist Gregg McDowell that puts them front and centre of your attention.
I found myself wondering if it was too much. If the wrench of the vocals was slightly overdone in comparison to the warmth and richness of the resounding, Orange guitars.
And I think yes, that’s possibly the case. It seems as if too much bile, too much angst is coming out of those pipes when the riffs are so likeable and languid. It’s as though two different bands are playing, at times.
One, a gruff, scalpel edged sludge act, and the other, a hazy, sumptuous stoner temptation.
I suppose they coalesce around the prominent Electric Wizard influence.
The highlight here has to be the skronky ‘Stinkroach’, which has a number of tricks up its sleeve to achieve the filthiest, darkest grunge sound – like a benighted, corrupted Mudhoney at times – and which results in a very fine track.
Aside from it though, a certain saminess descends by the time ‘Rogue Mystic’ kicks in near the back. There are eight songs here, and I’d have to offer that that’s too much. There should have been six.
I’m not saying they’re bad, or trying – far from it, these songs are cool. They’re just all quite variations on a theme however, aside from the distinctive ‘Stinkroach’.
Praise has to be due for the full and warm production, though the vocals are heavily reverbed while the rest isn’t, perhaps lending to that ‘two different bands’ feel I mentioned earlier.
They know how to write a riff and know how to add the undeniable energy to it as well. They just need to work on dynamics somewhat, and a little more light and shade throughout, if they’re determined to extend past 25 minutes.
Very decent however.
–Earl Grey ::: 20/02/18