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What the heck does “dead roots stirring” mean? Is it meant to evoke horror?

When one stops and considers, dead roots stirring could be kind of horrible. But it’s never made sense to over-analyze stoner metal-makers’ thought processes. Unions may be struggling. Americans wear clothing and drive cars often made elsewhere. But musicians still hunt for warehouses in which they can endanger their hearing by emitting an unholy noise. I believe Alex (A Clockwork Orange) would like the crunching guitars and thudding percussion; the slithery guitars and smashing cymbals on Elder’s second album. It’s pretty horror-show, and when it’s not, it’s sometimes downright pretty (enduring the 12-minute title track’s occasional meandering has its rewards, as do the pastoral, ’70s shadings leading into the mounting drama of “III.”

Guitar tones combine juiciness with dirt in a way that had to require hours of research. The cover art, featuring a naked woman clinging to the foot of a tree (don’t ask), is fairly tasteless. That’s oddly comforting: doom ’n’ gloom metal’s morphed into an American institution — one of the only industries employing lead guitarists.

Hey, creating metal has to beat staring at the tube or fingering an Xbox while waiting for your unemployment check. Listening to Elder sure does.

  • Album: Dead Roots Stirring
  • Artist: Elder
  • Label: Meteor City
  • Songs: (1) Gemini (2) Dead Roots Stirring (3) III (4) The End (5) Knot
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