Released independently on 26 June 2023
For fans of Mastodon, Corrosion of Conformity, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.
Landslide (2023) is the debut EP from Pendle Witch Country (UK)-based stoner/sludge metal band Grand Elder.
“There’s a storm coming and there’s no escape!” Thus begins this four-track EP from the north-west of England’s Grand Elder. An irrepressible fusion of monolithic riffage, thunderous hooks and melodic madness, at once aggressive, thoughtful and fiendishly groovy.
“Guillotine” (track 1) has a powerful and urgent riff that cuts deep. What is quite remarkable is how they manage to keep the song that urgent at a verging-on-prog length of six minutes and forty-two seconds. But they do. Through a sludgy doom riff halfway through they bring things way down before building them up again for a triumphant conclusion.
“Skinwalker” (track 2) initially feels a bit same-y, though the pace has been dropped a little. As the second longest track on the EP, it also goes for a little prog-style wander to explore the riff a little deeper. If anything, the song gets more intense as it burns out.
“New gods” (track 3) builds on this new energy with a mid-paced doom riff that lurches from verse line to line.
Title track “Grand elder” (track 4) ups the pace a little with a riff that’s as urgent as the opener which is remarkable as this is by far the longest track on the release. The band adds interest and pads things out with the middle section where the band goes on fights of fancy around a central riff.
Make no mistake: there is a storm coming… but it’s probably going to take the long way round.
Musicianship: great; production: great; song writing: great … my only real issue with this EP is the length of the songs. You certainly get value out of the ‘extended’ in extended play. At times the songs do feel a little too long; they could easily have gotten away with getting in, cracking out these intense, urgent, sludgy riffs, doing the job, then getting the hell out.
But like I said, that’s my only real issue. I’m sure that storm chasers even have a few grumbles about even the best storms. This is definitely a storm that’s worth checking out.
Review score: 70%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Grand Elder’s latest EP, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Grand Elder. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Grand Elder for continuing to create fresh, exciting new heavy music.