Friday, 23 December 2016
ELBRUS ~ ELBRUS ....review
One of the many highlights of 2015 was the release of an eleven minute track of bluesy psych and doom called "Far Away And Into Space Pt.2" released via Bandcamp by Australian band Elbrus. It's now been just under a year since that tracks release and a lot has happened in the meantime, firstly the Melbourne based band signed a deal with Bilocation Records and secondly the band have released their self titled debut album "Elbrus".
"Tall Shadows" opens proceedings, its scintillating hazy psych blues groove enhanced by Ollie Bradley-Smith's fragile vocal tones The guitarist/organist/vocalist's smooth, laid back, yet deceivingly powerful, tones float within the songs groove rather than over it and are perfectly complimented by bassist Mafi Watson's counter vocal, her slightly fragile sweeter tones the perfect foil for Bradley-Smith's mellower bluesy moan.
"Break The Machine" follows next and jams a slightly more straight forward and traditional heavy blues groove that sees guitarist Ringo Camilleri laying down cool jazzy chords over a slow blues shuffle, provided by Watson and drummer Tom Todorovic, then explodes Zeppelin -like into a blustering heavy blues rock refrain before falling back into its initial mellow groove. The song swings back and forth between these two dynamics with Bradley-Smith's vocal following suite, the singer switching between hazy blues moaner to full on rock roar as an when the groove dictates as well as also supplying some nice keyboard flourishes around Camilleri's scorching lead work. Special mention should go here to guest musician Christi Hodgkins whose superb wailing blues drenched harmonica takes the song to whole different level.
"Eyes Of The Mammal" begins with Elbrus briefly introducing a little bluesy funkiness into their hazy delta grooves before taking off into a fuzz and distortion drenched flight of riff heavy stoner doom ably driven by Todorovic's pulverising percussion and Watson's throbbing bass. Camilleri and Bradley-Smith fill out the groove with a superb mix of heavily fuzzed guitar and keyboards over which the singer/organist applies another great vocal.
"Far Away And Into Space Pt.1" is a short and highly entertaining instrumental that sees the band showcasing the more lysergic aspects of their sound as well as serving as the perfect intro into the gloriously acid-rock/proto-doom monster that is ....
"Far Away And Into Space Pt.2"... Bradley-Smith's keyboards, having played more of a supporting role on previous tracks, are here pushed closer to the front sitting on an even keel with Camilleri's gnarly distortion soaked guitar and giving the song an almost progressive feel albeit one that has a heavy element of psychedelic bluesy doom in its makeup. Musically the band are on fire throughout the songs 10;52 duration with Watson holding down the bottom end superbly, her big bold bass lines locking in tight with Todorovic's powerful and dexterous drumming as well as supporting and complimenting Camileri's huge riffs and swirling note perfect solo's. Bradley-Smith delivers over this tumultuous barrage of gloriously addictive noise a truly stunning vocal, crooning with feeling one minute wailing like a madman at the top end of his vocal range the next, his vocals distinctive and controlled are the icing on a very tasty musical cake.
"Three Walls" closes the album with a slightly more downtempo, but no less intense, song that wends its way slowly ,via a slow burning lo-fi doom groove replete with moodily delivered vocals, to a stratospheric guitar screaming finale.
Elbrus set the bar high when back in 2015 they released "Far Away And Into Space Pt.2" as a teaser for their forthcoming album, so the question that must be asked is have they lived up to that expectation? Well on the evidence presented on "Elbrus" the answer would have to be a most resounding YES!
Check it out .....