New Music Mondays: Elder, High Command and More!

For the first time in the year plus of New Music Mondays, we’ve finally reached a week where I’m not particularly familiar with any of the bands on the list. Six almost completely unknown bands put out albums, so I’m excited to dive in and hopefully find some new great bands to be obsessed with!

Elder: Innate Passage

There are two types of prog music. There’s the ever changing, constant insanity of bands like Rush or Iron Maiden’s epics, throwing in different riffs and parts every couple of minutes. Then there’s the type that stretch an entire riff out for a solid ten minutes and squeeze every last drop out of the same concept before moving onto the next. This is an example of the latter.

Time for me to feel and sound like a hypocrite. While I typically like it when bands play around with the same riff and get different sounds out of it all. But five one-riff tracks spanning 54 minutes is a little too much for even me. The talent of the band is clearly on full display and very high, it just got a little too much and repetitive for me. Ironically, ‘Endless Return’ was a highlight track of the album, though! The clean riff is awesome and it builds perfectly for over two minutes into the great heaviness. 5/10 I’d not stick it on optionally much, but I also wouldn’t skip a track!

High Command: Eclipse of the Duel Moons

I’ve not heard an album open on such a punch to the teeth since Vugar Display of Power. The title track is a tour de force of power and aggression. Also, this band were one of the few I’d heard the name of previously, but I don’t know why I didn’t know they were crossover thrash. I had a lighter sound in mind, but I’m very glad they sounded like this instead.

Again, it’s a collection of incredibly talented musicians making great tracks together. The slower, proggy awesomeness that is ‘Imposing Hammers of Cold Sorcery’ is a definite highlight, as is the similarly paced ‘Chamber of Agony’. It turns out, although I do like balls-to-the-wall thrash too, I clearly enjoy it when the bands do things a little different and create some dynamics in their tracks, even just for parts of it. I love ‘In the Court of the Dragon, but ‘Shadow of the Abattoir’ is my favourite track on the album. ‘The Four Horsemen’ is one of my favourite Metallica tracks because it combines both thrash and slower elements together masterfully. It’s the same with these tracks.

I don’t want to crap on the other tracks though, the faster, thrash tracks are also amazing. This is a damn good album, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re into the heavier side of metal. 7.5/10, good stuff.

Finnegan’s Hell: One Finger Salute

Described as Sweden’s answer to The Pogues, as well as being the leading light in the New of Swedish Celtic Punk movement (something that I didn’t know existed but will have to check out more of now), the band return with their fourth album. It’s about exactly what you’d expect from the genre, and a lot of fun.

The anthemic, straight-to-the-point title track is a clear highlight. The opener is also great, some of the vocal melody even reminding me of some more recent Bruce Dickinson stuff. ‘I’ll Make it Up to You’ is also typical Celtic punk awesomeness. It’s honestly nice that after two albums of proggier writing, we have an album that’s ten tracks and only 25 minutes long. Heck, only one song clocks in at over three minutes. It was the perfect pallet clenser.

I’ve always loved the genre, and this is a great album to add to it. It’s packed full of great, fun tracks and in no way overstays its welcome. I feel like this band would be a lot of fun to see live, especially playing a few of these tracks! 7/10

Black Paisley: Human Nature

The latest band to put out an album into the rather saturated NWOCR scene, Black Paisley still put out a damn good album for their fourth release. The Swedes are clearly good songwriters, with tracks like ‘Not Alone’, ‘Mojo’ and ‘World’s Turning’ all being great. It’s a good album and the band definitely deserve more recognition, especially over here where the NWOCR movement has taken over half of the underground scene.

However, there is so much ‘classic rock’ out there these days and we’ve covered so much of it over the last year and a half that I’m starting to get rather burnt out from it. Like there are a lot of bands in the scene that do things different and mix up the formula in their own way, think Ward XVI or Mason Hill or South of Salem, that I LOVE> But it just means that straight-up classic rock doesn’t do much for me currently. I’ll probably come back around and absolutely love this album in the new year, and I’m definitely going to be listening to it again and checking out their older stuff. However, for now I’ll give it a 6.5/10. Sorry guys.

The Riven: Peace and Conflict

When this album started I was very tempted to write some extended version of ‘see above’. However I’ll be damned, this band really won me over, and quickly! ‘The Taker’ is a fantastic, high-energy anthem while slower tracks like ‘Sorceress of the Sky’ are amazing and show off great versatility from the band. Plus, who cannot be impressed by the sheer brilliance of musicianship on display in ‘La Puerta del Tiempo’?

It’s nothing mindblowing, but it’s a damn good hard rock album and one I’ll definitely be listening to some more. 7/10

Mother Vulture: Mother Knows Best

Another band that I knew pretty much by name only, thanks to being on festival bills I’d been to or toured with other bands I’ve checked out. However I had never had the chance to check them out properly. I regret that massively. This was fucking awesome.

A fuzzy, desert/indie rock take on classic rock, this was amazing from start to finish. From the anthemic opening track to other radio-rock bangers like ‘Honey’ and ‘Shifting Sands’, this album is made to be played hard and loud in front of thousands of screaming fans. I named those three tracks while, in honesty, the whole album is its own highlight. Whether you’re into rock, indie or metal, check this out, as you will for sure find something to love. These guys blend all of it together masterfully with this album, and honestly, if given the right marketing, it could and should catapult them into the stratosphere. 9/10 CHECK THIS OUT.