68 minutes of melancholic doom / death meets funeral doom awaits any listener who ventures down the same path trodden by the UK’s Elderseer.
For a full-length debut, Drown in the Shallowness is some piece of work. These songs are sprawling, majestic (and lengthy) and each and every cavalcade of down-tuned riffage crushes; the band’s sheer heaviness bringing so much to the table. Elderseer marry melody with thunderous segments that threaten the very fabric of the listener’s cranium and these UK doomsters have ably delivered an album of complexity, darkness and sorrow, but – with their love of the natural world – also a sliver of light.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons with the early UK gothic death/doom of Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride. The vibe is much the same, but Elderseer categorically do not go down the tribute band route. Their attitude may be reminiscent of those godfathers of the genre but, with an individuality that, fortunately, stands them apart, Elderseer are very much their own entity.
Any band that can open their debut album with a song of nine and a half minutes duration isn’t going for the instant download audience. And, with “Gilded Shackles”, that’s exactly what Elderseer do. The guitar work is crisp, the production spot on – with enough echo and reverb to enhance the band’s sound – and its instant riff, that drags its way across the entire song, braces the listener for what’s to come.
Technically, there’s nothing at all to criticise. The band can play sombre, dragging, funeral doom with aplomb, although it’s where they slowly increase the pace that things become a little more engaging – such as the quick-fire bursts of chugging intensity found on “She Is the Ocean”. The title track is then suitably epic; a slow-paced ten-minute piece, with piercing guitar work that forces its way through the crumbling riffs. It’s glacially slow – with echoes of Paradise Lost’s Gregor Mackintosh’s fretwork laced throughout and whilst the ‘doom’ is imposing, it doesn’t quite smother the listener in the manner that similar outfits do. In fact, the sheer vastness of the soundscapes that Elderseer craft is staggering. “The World is Your Cloister” being just one such example where the echoing chasms reflect the overall size of the music created.
Both figuratively and literally, Elderseer‘s Drown In The Shallowness is an album that takes time to absorb…. and I could have spent further hours thoroughly immersed in this gargantuan epic of prime doom / death. 8/10
Elderseer‘s Drown In The Shallowness was released on February 3rd, 2023 via Meuse Music Records