FAR-024 Elder "S/T" 10"+CD

Release date: June 24, 2008

01. Town of Clay
02. Shifting Gaze
03. Golden Flower

Recorded and mixed by Chris Brignola at Attic Studios
Mastered by Vince Ratti


Armando Morales - bass and vocals
Craig Woods - guitars and vocals
Drew Juergens - drums and percussion


Elder promo picture

Elder eye logo
Elder hand logo
Elder text logo

Elder - S/T


I really had no idea what to expect when I got this mini-EP. Three guys from Philadelphian punk bands Balboa and Towers playing metal-gaze/post-metal? I was sure it would be some kind of absurd novelty that I'd listen to a couple times for a good laugh and subsequently discard. I'll be honest, I can't really appreciate punk music. Outside of hardcore, I think it sounds well... silly. In general, I find the vocals whiny, the music crude, and the performance sloppy (all things that are nearly core to the punk aesthetic). My only exposure to screamo-act Balboa had been though the split with Rosetta, and Towers... well, I'd never heard of Towers at all.... That being said, "Elder" is easily the most creative and enjoyable release I have heard in 2008, bar none. Every time I think post-metal is getting as dreary and repetitive as its rock counterpart, I am stunned by a release such as this one. Elder takes the atmosphere and sonic onslaught of post-metal and infuses its own unique frenetic style. I confess that it was hard for me to break into screamo-style vocals. Initially, I was drawn to the non-vocal "Shifting Gaze" because it was familiar, instrumental, post-rock. But I quickly realized that "Shifting Gaze" is probably the weakest track; it really brings nothing new to the table. While it is pleasant, it is also somewhat boring. But the other two tracks easily make up for "Shifting Gaze." What really makes Elder special is the dual vocal assault of Armando Morales and Craig Woods. There is something singularly addictive about Morales' tortured shrieks smothered by Woods' dull roar on "Golden Flower." Screamo seems like such an unlikely match for refined atmospheric music such as Elder makes, but after several spins I really couldn't imagine it any other way. As ridiculous as this may sound, the desperate angst of Morales' screams layered over the quiet, clean guitar melody at the end of "Golden Flower" is both eerie and touching. The biggest problem with "Elder" is that it's too damn short. It's pretty apparent that this is just a shopping demo that Forge Again issued to test the waters. If the question is whether Elder should continue making music, the answer is an emphatic yes; like I said, this is the most excited I've been all year. My question is why didn't the band just record a couple more songs and release a proper EP? Elder seems to realize that it will be difficult to sell a three song release, so for $10 you get a CD and vinyl. This is great if you enjoy listening to the fairer medium, but if you're digital-only, it's a much tougher decision. Even so, my recommendation would be to cough up the cash. It's worth it. - Bernard Koch, sonicfrontiers.net

Wow. Screamo has been around so long that there’s actually a resurgence of its earlier days, as Elder prove with this three-song eponymous offering. Side-stepping the current onslaught of bands stalled in the screeching verse/bawling chorus mindset, these guys slip back to the second wave of Fugazi disciples, producing tunes abounding in moments of tormented wailing and moderately mathematical instrumentation. At times, their raspy distortion and throaty vocals are reminiscent of Grade’s finer moments, which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, given that most bands strive to duplicate that embittered rage but rarely do. There is much passion and grace in the delivery of these three songs: “Town of Clay, “Shifting Gaze” and “Golden Flower,” respectively. Many parts and dynamic passages prove the band know how to bond the worlds of complication and sentiment equally, creating songs that are compelling to both personal emotions and an awareness of musical refinement. - Keith Carman, exclaim.ca

Take it from the dudes in Balboa and Towers, who know how to build an atmosphere: If you want to write a near-perfect epic screamo song, look to the opener on Elder's self-titled 10" EP, "Town of Clay." Everything you want in soft-hard/quiet-loud dynamics, budding guitars, huge, pounding drums and a desperate, pleading screamer atop it all is here. The rest of Elder's EP isn't quite as overwhelming, but if you're looking for a well-done version of this á la Envy and City of Caterpillar, you've come to the right place. "Shifting Gaze" is an appropriately titled followup to "Town of Clay," finishing up the A side with more of an atmospheric and restrained touch. "Golden Flower" is a perfectly conclusive sounding number from the trio (!), with moments that recall Sirens-era On the Might of Princes. Armando Morales' scream comes off a bit shrill at first, but with a few listens of the EP, you realize how fitting his voice is to the whole thing, and any hints of annoyance it may cause has completely dissipated. This isn't to mention that guitarist Craig Woods provides a nicely bellowed backup for him in "Town of Clay." This is a really impressive release in so many aspects. Definitely recommended. - Brian, punknews.org

In three tracks, Elder display a grasp of a more urgent, dramatic screamo prose with a shimmering, layered approach to riffs that’s more in line with post rock, and the end result is a beautiful if short taster of possibly something special to come. There’s an obvious Balboa/Towers under current, but think Thursday or Misery Signals on valium meets Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai. I also get a little bit of the hugely underrated Hirestsukan on some of the guitar work. Opener, "Town of Clay" is a multi paced, layered, urgent track that ends with a nice segue into the beautifully dreamy instrumental "Shifting Gaze." "Golden Flower" is the EP centerpiece with just some truly sumptuous, cascading guitar work dancing around the semi screamed but not grating vocals. It’s basically screamo for those that don’t like screamo and want a little more depth. - Erik Thomas, teethofthedevine.com



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