Saturday 13 February 2016

Elephant Tree - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: April 22nd 2016. Label: Magnetic Eye Records. Format: Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl

Elephant Tree – S/T – Tracklisting

5.Aphotic Blues

Band Members:

Jack Townley (Guitar, Vocals)
Peter Holland (Bass, Vocals)
Riley MacIntyre (Sitar, Vocals)
Sam Hart (Percussion)


Elephant Tree achieved some minor acclaim for their debut EP – Theia – back in 2014 with its style of Psychedelic Rock mixed with heavy vibes of Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal. They’re still signed to ace record label – Magnetic Eye Records and are now ready to release their self-titled debut album.

So what can we expect from their new album. People expecting Theia part two are likely to be disappointed as this album has a different feel to their debut EP. Gone are the harsh vocals and replaced with a psychedelic and highly atmospheric doom metal feel. The band even channels 60s/70s classic Hard Rock/Blues Rock sounding rhythms and vocals at times which I was totally floored by.

Opening track – Spore – is fifty seconds of ambient drone based noises to bring this album to life. It’s quite an unsettling piece despite the short running time but it’s quite cool of the band to show some of the harsh noises that awaits you on the album.

Second track – Wither – is where we see Elephant Tree in full flow. Distant vocals played against heavy sludge/stoner guitars with a creepy psychedelic environment playing in the background. The instrumental work is the one thing that draws you in as the band create a classic sounding Hard Rock/Heavy Metal gloomy environment. It’s one of the albums standout songs as Elephant Tree creates their own unique sound. The final two minutes of the song show you why Elephant Tree is so highly thought of. Wait until you experience the heavy and distorted progressive riffs.

Third track – Dawn – opts for a more Doom/Stoner Metal feel with vocals that are influenced by 60s Psych Rock. The music is heavy from the start with the band creating heavy distorted noises that allows the band to play impressive guitar solos. It's the vocals that impress the most even though they appear for a brief amount of time.

Fourth track – Circles – sees the band create a cool doomy acoustic vibe set against a solitary guitar playing in the background with waves of psychedelic noises appearing here and there.

Fifth track – Aphotic Blues – returns to the earlier distorted sounds of the album with the band excelling on vocal duties once again. The riffs can be quite intimidating and depressing at times but it’s the classic psych sounding vocals that give Elephant Tree their unique sound. Elephant Tree slow things down in the second half of the song as it allows the band to create bass heavy drone based noises that you would expect from bands such as Conan.

Sixth track – Echoes sees the band change their sound yet again but this time for a more Blues Rock feel. You have to give Elephant Tree credit for making all the songs sound very different to each other. Though it doesn’t take long for the heavy Doom/Stoner Metal riffs to appear and allow Elephant Tree to create some of the albums heaviest riffs.

The final two tracks – Fracture and Surma – sees Elephant Tree create more atmospheric and doom based noises with the vocals being more refined especially on Fracture. Surma is perhaps the standout track on the album as it’s where the different sounding riffs and vocals combine for one final epic and exciting ride.

Elephant Tree have created a brilliant and complex sounding debut album. This is simply unmissable. End of.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard Jones at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Elephant Tree – S/T - will be available to buy on Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl from Magnetic Eye Records from April 22nd 2016.