Special Features: Limited edition of only 200 copies on 180 gram red/gold colored vinyl. Cover version of Flowerin' Travellin' Band's "Map".
- Highflyer - Down Not Out
Release Date: 2013
Label: Headspin Records
Origin: The Netherlands
Japanese psychedelic doom stalwarts Eternal Elysium have had two releases out in the past six months or so. The first blast of this twin missile strike is a split with SardoniS released in early October which was reviewed recently on this fine blog. The second was the ‘Highflyer’ EP released in late October, which will be our point of focus here today.
Though they’ve been around since ’91, this is my first exposure to the band. Theirs is a highly distinctive sound, fusing Black Sabbath riffs with Monster Magnetic craziness, bordering at times on a drug-fueled late-sixties psych prog sound. This band will make you hear the colors and taste the music, the driving rhythms which characterise this disc leave a strobe light through stage smoke taste in the mouth, if you can dig it. Blankets of wah-knitted distortion cover the listener until all remnants of consciousness are surrendered to the music.
‘Highflyer’ is a colorful record, bursting with polychrome textures laid out by the free-flowing guitar work of Yukito Okazaki whose psychedelic exuberance is undercut by the devastating swinging blade of low end heaviness provided by bassist Tana Haugo. The opening, title track is sure to slice you up and laugh while doing it. It’s the definite highlight of the disc with iron horse galloping rhythms reminiscent of White Zombie, guaranteed to leave an impression on the listener.
“Map” dusts off a bit of the heaviness in favor of psychotropic atmosphere during the bridge. The watchword here is dynamics. Eternal Elysium takes the listener to the top floor of constantly increasing excitement levels. Melodic vocals, sung in Japanese, lift the listener to a higher spiritual plane while the crashing heaviness smashes the listener back down to earth. The punishment brought about by the heaviness of the guitars is made more powerful by the beauty of the vocal melody
“Circulation” is also sung manically, this time in English and has some great riffs. It’s clear that 20 plus years of crushing eardrums has sharpened the instincts of the band. Riffs build one upon the other and open up like doors of perception through winding corridors of mind alteration, which like the “future, [are] completely white”.
On closing instrumental track, “Highflyer – Down Not Out”, a hard-boiled noir detective feeling is teleported to the Arabian Desert, creating a one of a kind sonic experience. Tasteful use of horns and careful sensitivity to atmosphere create an almost George Gershwin “Rhapsody in Blue” effect. It’s quite the way to go out.
‘Highflyer’ exhumes the old bones and memories of Eternal Elysium’s contemporary bands like Sleep, White Zombie and Monster Magnet in a thoroughly convincing and original way. Stoner and doom fans will dig this EP if they haven’t already, there’s still plenty of life left in those old bones after all. - Lucas Klaukien (The Sludgelord)