So I pop this disc in the player, and the sonic assault begins immediately. Elder features interesting drumming buried under a wall of fuzzed-up guitars and that guy with the ripped vocal cords screaming about urban decay or zombies or whatever metal bands scream about. But after a few cuts he stops, and a quiet minimalist guitar line opens “Niños.” It plods along, and then begins a slow build to a fuller guitar sound, and Ripped Vocal Guy returns, but with fewer and softer words. Here the liner notes come in handy. If you follow carefully, you can pick out the lyrics, and they demand an answer to “Whatever happened to free will?” They answer in Spanish which I’d run though Google Translate, but I don’t trust it with heavy metal lyrics. Elder continues on in this vein for six tracks: quiet passages mesh with rapid-fire guitar work, lyrics of angst driven by the war and the debt crisis occupy the singer, anger is vented, and then they rest. That’s how I treat personal injustice – fulminate, rage, and capitulate. Nothing changes, but you still feel you’ve done what you can to save the world. Elder has my vote.

Forgeagainrecords: http://www.forgeagainrecords.com • Elder: http://www.myspace.com/elderphiladelphia

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