Thursday 6 November 2014

Elephant Tree - Theia EP (Album Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 23/09/2014
Label: Magnetic Eye Records

‘Theia’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1). The Call (00:22)
2). Attack of the Altaica (08:08)
3). In Suffering (05:11)
4). The Answer (00:48)
5). Vlaakith (06:20)
6). Lament (02:11)
7). The Sead (05:12)


Both hailing from the North of England. Jack and Sam came together through work and a mutual interest in anything musically heavy. Early jam sessions started to bring out some monster riffs and it wasn't long before plans to record and perform started to be made.

Linking up with Pete of Trippy Wicked and Stubb heritage the sound started to develop further and by the end of the month the new demo track was being recorded with sights set firmly on an EP in the near future.  With the addition of the Canadian Boy Wonder, Riley, with his sitar and wizard-like physique, things moved up a notch again.

Playing their debut gig to a great crowd in April 2014 which lead to the demand for the recording of their first EP, ‘Theia’ was released in September by Magnetic Eye Records. Now an established gigging band the guys are booking in performances all over the UK with sights set to lands beyond

Elephant Tree is:

Guitars/Vocals | Jack Townley
Bass/Vocals | Peter Holland
Sitar/Vocals | Riley MacIntyre
Drums | Sam Hart


Ok, so first off, let me tell you what I love about that (for lack of a better term) "Sabbathy" sound. They arent the only ones who did it, but they did it first and best.   The Impending Wave of Doom. The tones produced by the guitars and bass that are probably tuned down a half-step or more, blended to make that heavy doomy atmospheric sound. You all know what I’m talking about. That sound that makes it seem as if a giant black, doomy wall of sound is about to fall on you and wipe out the world. It’s pretty much what brings the average music fan to bands like Black Sabbath, and the genre of Doom metal (and every other kind of metal) that came after them.

Now let me introduce you to Elephant Tree.  The album opens up with "The Call" which I’m pretty sure is a Sitar riff, that would be well-placed in a psychological thriller. It’s pretty haunting; "The Call" is anwered by track 4, "The Answer",

BAM! There it is. That "giant wall of impending doom" only with a much, fuzzier tone rather than guitar distortion. Slow, plodding riffs of fuzzy doomy goodness, but with enough changes so that nothing becomes too repetitive.  On the second track," Attack of the Altaica", you get that dirty, low fuzz doom but with a vocal melody much different on later tracks. Honestly, the vocals are somewhat reminiscent of the kind of harmonies Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell often used. That changes on the next track, "In Suffering".

I can go on and on about what I like about this album, and describe each track, and it would be valid since each song is slightly different from the others, as any good album should be, but staying within "the sound" that the band is going for.

Instead, I'll just sum up to say that some of the best undiscovered bands out there seem to be coming from that somewhat undefinable "doom/fuzz" or "garage doom" sound. It’s becoming its own legitimate genre, ever bit as valid as any other, and Elephant Tree is a great example of the genre. While I do use a couple of references to Black Sabbath, it's only for those not familiar with the sound.

You may not know Pentagram, or Count Raven, or Uncle Acid, but you've probably heard of Sabbath.

Elephant Tree is a must if you like that sound. Even better, none of the tracks fall victim to the most common mistake doom bands make, which is dragging a song too long. No matter how cool your riff is and how awesome your tone is, plodding endlessly is a sure fire way to bore the britches off anyone after 4 minutes or so. Elephant Tree doesnt fall victim to that. The songwriting is solid and creative, and keeps one's interest all the way.

Highly recommended for any fans of doom, stoner rock or fuzz and for the three fans of Astroqueen's "Into Submission" that will read this.

Words by: Mike Borsum

You can pick up a copy here

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