Album Review: Innate Passage by Elder

Elder has been an active band since 2006, and as usual, I’m late to the party, as their new album is the first album I’ve heard from them; a fact that I plan to rectify after hearing how good this new album is. Said album is called Innate Passage and releases on November 25th, 2022, and while only being 5 tracks, it comes in at a whopping 52 minutes and 34 seconds in length.

About Innate Passage

This is the sixth full-length album from this Berlin-based band, and I’m borrowing the following from their Bandcamp profile:

“In the spring of 2020, Elder released their fifth album, Omens, and established a claim on their most prog-leaning interpretation of sprawling heavy rock and roll. Two years later, Innate Passage builds on many similar concepts but outdoes its predecessor on every level of performance, the weight of its impact, the interplay between founder Nick DiSalvo and Mike Risberg’s guitars and keys, the now-settled-in drumming of Georg Edert – who made his debut on Omens – and bassist Jack Donovan’s tonal warmth underscoring the shimmer of DiSalvo’s leads.”

Says DiSalvo: “This record channels the surreal world we live in from a fantastical point of view, not super-literally, and how we as humans processed that; everyone on their own passage through time and space and whatever version of reality they chose for themselves. The phrase ‘Innate Passage’ appeared to me when writing the record. Passage and transition are necessary for the human condition, and this process is intrinsic to us. All the growth and introspection we underwent in the past few years totally made this apparent to me more so than any other experiences in life so far.”

The Songs of Innate Passage

The album opener is the fastest ten minutes of listening that I’ve experienced in quite some time. “Catastasis” showed me exactly what I’ve been missing by not checking out Elder and made me a little sad that I’ve not done so until now. The opening delay-fueled riff transitions into a more straightforward stoner rock riff before re-adding that delayed part, and then some incredible keys come in to blow your mind! The verse is mellow, like King Buffalo, making me realize that Elder must have impacted that band’s music. Everything gets better as the song moves ahead, keeping me more than interested in what they were creating.

Up next is “Endless Return,” a track with the best bass-driven section about halfway through. The tone of the bass in the section, and the playing of it, are just stellar examples of what bass playing should be in this genre. The little guitar notes on top of it are bright and cheery, making this section seem light and airy as well.

“Coalescence” is yet another incredible showing, as are all the tracks on Innate Passage. Elder uses their immense talents to hook the listener, pulling them into the world their music creates and holding onto them as if they were a long-lost lover. This one is a perfect blend of the progressive and psychedelic genres that the band calls home.

“Merged in Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra” comes in as track number four, which is 14 minutes and 43 seconds in length, but that time seems to fly by, and by the end, you will wish that there was more to this beautifully written track. I was in awe of this song from its onset, and it just continued to get more enjoyable as the seconds ticked by.

The last song is called “The Purpose” and is another track that exhibits all the traits that Elder is known for. I’m impressed with the tones they achieved as I listen to it, everything is in its place, and there is enough separation between the instruments involved that you can plainly hear what each is doing without them overpowering one another. This is the perfect way to close out the record, reaching for maximum effect and getting it with ease.

Final Thoughts

Innate Passage is Elder at their finest, showing growth and a desire to evolve in a way that is satisfying to them without ostracizing its long-time fanbase. If you’re like me, you have found a new band to love, and if you’ve been a fan of Elder since the start, you will be pleased with where they are going. So, head over to Bandcamp and preorder the record before it drops on November 25th! Enjoy!!!

Support Elder by checking out their Bandcamp and website or find them on social media (Instagram, YouTube, Twitter).

This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

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