Review – Elderoth: Mystic

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Self-release
  • Release Date: April 28th, 2015
  • Genre: Power Metal, Progressive Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Elderoth, as a band, is a rather interesting specimen. It came into existence in 2007 thanks to founding guitarist and vocalist Collin McGee (Pallor Mortis, ex-Self Collapse), but it wasn’t until 2011 that we started to see other members join the group. However, Collin is the only person credited behind 2012’s debut self-titled album. Time went on, and four members had come and gone. As it stands, Elderoth is now a three-piece, having acquired bassist Xavier Sperdouklis (Derelict, former Impalement) and drummer Jessy Normand (Entheos) in 2014, not to mention live guitarist Vincent Harnois (Karkaos) who replaced the previous live guitarist Dave Evangelista. But, again we find Collin the only credited member behind the follow-up full-length release, Mystic. As it turns out, Elderoth is a one-man operation in the studio, but a full fledged band when performing live. So, looking at this as more of a solo project with the more recent outing, does Mystic stand as an impressive entry into the Progressive and Power Metal worlds, or is it just too ambitious an effort for one man to undertake?

Well, it definitely is an interesting mixture of quality ideas. Mystic treads into a couple different styles, though the main foundations rely largely on the aforementioned Power Metal and Progressive Metal approach, the latter of which you can really feel as far as structuring and the additional influences come into play. On top of that, this is an incredibly crisp, digital release, but in all the right ways. The guitars have enough bite to them most of the time thanks to the minimal distortion that has a Djent-ish output to it against a bass guitar presence that is just loud enough to be felt. The drums are all pristine with no washout or distance as well, though still a bit behind the clean singing, which can be a little too loud from time to time, though never in too detrimental a fashion.

One of the bigger perks about the album is that it’s just a very positive, upbeat experience. Lyrically, Mystic is a real boost of encouragement, and not the kind you would find in one of those dime-store self-help or self-empowering books. The lyrical content may sometimes be a bit simplistic, but, they’re backed by a superb mixture of infectiously crisp melodies, as well as a decent amount of darkened aggression when the riffs bulk up a bit or the pace slows, such as the closing to “Falling Star”. The otherwise encouraging performance doesn’t necessarily dive bomb into something wholly negative, but instead treats the listener as more than a a person looking to degrade their ear drums with mundane sugar-coated positivity that doesn’t speak to one’s own nature.

There’s also a good deal of oriental influence in the guitars, drums, as well as additional effects throughout akin to recent Chthonic releases. “Within” establishes this right away in the chords utilized at first, really laying pushing some beefier riffs leading up to the brief single chord chugging breakdown towards the end. The enthusiasm isn’t tainted by it, thankfully, leading into the majestic, Neoclassical start of “Black and Blue”. The digital audio allows the Progressive tones of the song to mesh with the beauty similar to Sonata Arctica well enough to feel like you are being transported through time, or perhaps gazing at some mythical object with fantastical beings all around before crashing into some darker riffs that fail to let go of the atmosphere established shortly after the track began.

ElderothOf course, there are some tracks that kind of shy away from the heavier Metal presence, and just focus more on being fun performances. “My Future”, for example, is one that seems more up the alley of the band The Bunny The Bear, throwing around more Electronica and material bordering on Modern Rock with hints of Grunge [I hear a little Goo Goo Dolls in some bridges, especially in the vocals]. This isn’t a bad thing really. In fact it perfectly fits in given the upbeat nature of the album. Meanwhile there’s “In a Dream”, which has more of a Folk Metal bard influence in the main verses that quickly picks back up to more of a Power Metal presence.

The only time Elderoth seems to really drop the ball on Mystic is the restrained DragonForce-esque “Far in the Sea”. There’s a high pitch squeak, which comes off like noise from fingers running along the strings of the guitar neck too fast or just incredibly high pitch notes due to the tuning, all louder than everything else in the mix. This isn’t the first time you’ll pick up on it either, as it does show earlier on in the album, but, unlike here where it’s a pretty obvious and an extensive chunk, those previous spots only last a moment or two, if even that. Other than that, this is one of the more traditional Power Metal cuts of the release, and still manages to make an impact with the listener despite the aforementioned ear splitting noises.

As a one-man studio entity, Elderoth present a very uplifting album that feels absolutely genuine in it’s lyrical themes. Mystic takes full advantage of the Progressive Metal aspect of its sound to tackle other styles in a way that feels natural to the blend of Sonata Arctica and DragonForce-lite material that makes up the album, all the while exploring different atmospheres without any concern to whether it’s heavy enough or not. This commendable approach makes for a journey that leaves you actually feeling good about yourself by the end of this just under thirty-five minute self-released offering. If you’re into well composed music that doesn’t restrict itself to one specific sub-genre of Metal in a way that feels one hundred percent fluid from start to finish, Mystic is something you are going to want to check out right away.

ElderothDigital review copy of this release provided by Elderoth via Asher Media Relations.