Innate Passage: The new album by Elder

Innate Passage was released on November 25, 2022

Elder is a four-piece heavy psych band based in Berlin, Germany. Originally from Boston, Mass, the band was formed by founding guitarist and vocalist, Nick DiSalvo and bassist Jack Donovan. The current lineup includes Mike Risberg on guitars and keys and Georg Edert on drums. Since their formation in 2006, the band has been continuously evolving, adding new elements to their sound. What started as primarily a Sleep-worshipping stoner rock band has significantly grown and developed over the last decade and a half. Through the course of their career, collaborating with other bands, touring the world, and continually experimenting and adding musical elements, the band has crafted a progressive, psychedelic, genre-bending sound that is always recognizable as Elder.

The band released Innate Passage on November 25. It follows 2021’s Eldovar, a collaboration with Kadavar, and their 2020 full length, Omens. Innate Passage clocks in at 54 minutes with 5 tracks. The album was recorded and mixed by Linda Dag at Clouds Hill Studio in Hamburg and mastered by Carl Saff. The intriguing artwork was produced by Adrian Dexter, a legend in the stoner rock art community who has produced all of Elder’s album art.

Calling the album anything other than ambitiously grandiose and epic would be a huge understatement. The songs are long, with each song hovering around the 10 minute mark or more, and each track is like a tapestry or a painting, continually revealing layer after psychedelic layer as it unfolds. The songs tend to be elaborately constructed and unpredictable in their arrangement, but the flow and catchiness of the tracks will draw you in. It may sound oxy-moronic, but this is exactly the type of heavy music you could equally head bang or fall asleep to, both energetic and relaxing.

1. Catastasis 10:50
2. Endless Return 9:54
3. Coalescence 9:47
4. Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra 14:43
5. The Purpose 8:37

Elder’s trademark harmonies are ever present in Disalvo’s endlessly creative chord progressions and soaring guitar leads. Listen to the opener, Catastasis, for some awesome chord progressions and some incredibly fretboard-sweeping patterns on Endless Return. His vocal style is strong, with well-delivered melodies and occasional harmonies like on the opening track. The lyrics on Innate Passage are abstract, with poetic, philosophical observations and societal commentary, in the tradition of past albums.

Risberg’s guitars and diverse keys on the album are huge, adding beautifully to the sonic richness and dreamy nature of the album’s well produced sound. Check out Endless Return and Merged in Dreams for some awesome dual guitar leads. The keys tones run the gamut, with orchestrated sounds on Catastasis, spacy sounds on Endless Return, synths on Coalescence, with plenty of psychedelic tones in between. Listen closely to The Purpose to hear Risberg’s spacy keyboard interplay with Donovan’s absolutely heavy bass line.

Underneath it all, Donavan and Edert hold things in the pocket with a tight and driving rhythm section. Donavan’s bass tone is thick and beefy on Coalescence, which also features some tricky time signature work reminiscent of Rush in their heyday. Edert drums with the utmost complexity and flow but without being flashy or standing out. The album merits relistens just to try and figure out some of his timing on tracks like Coalescence. There’s plenty to explore in the band’s tight and complex song structures, especially on the nearly 15 minute Merged in Dreams, with trippy keys and guitars that build to possibly the heaviest ending on the album.

Innate Passage is available for streaming on Bandcamp, with digital album download available for $7. Physical copies of the double LP are available through Armageddon Shop in the U.S. and Stickman Records in Europe. Check out the band’s merch page and follow them on social media.

Sacred: The new album by Colour Haze

Sacred was released on September 14, 2022

Colour Haze is a four-piece band from Munich, Germany. They formed in 1994 and are one of the most influential German stoner rock groups active today. The group produces a detailed audioscape of psychedelic music. The songs are filled with progressive drumming and riffs, soothing and spacy keyboard tones, incredibly catchy guitar hooks, and positive vocals. Since the mid-90’s, the group has released 13 full length albums as well as a handful of live albums and numerous EP’s. Now, the group is back with their 14th full length, Sacred.

Sacred clocks in at 42 minutes with seven tracks. Cover art for the album was created by graphic and tattoo artist, Sara Koncilja. The album was released through Elektrohasch and was recorded live by Willi Dammeier at Clouds Hill in Hamburg. Mixing and mastering was done at the band’s own Colour Haze Studio by founding singer and guitarist, Stefan KoglekIf.

If you’ve followed the Sonic Sofa for any length of time, you’ll know that I often refer to Koglek’s recognizable and influential guitar style. Koglek is joined again by Manfred Merwald on drums, Mario Oberpucher on bass, and Jan Faszbender on keys. Together, they have created an album that radiates good vibes and wicked musicality. Positive, poetic lyrics, delivered in Koglek’s unique, raspy melodies, encourage listeners and prompt them to look to nature, and not the material world, for fulfillment and guidance. Musically, listeners are treated to progressive riffs with insanely catchy guitar hooks, intriguing keyboard layers, and a technically progressive rhythm section.

1. Turquoise 6:09
2. Goldmine 4:35
3. Ideologigi 8:58
4. Avatar 4:41
5. 1.5 Degrees 3:37
6. See The Fools 6:54
7. In All You Are 6:58

Turquoise opens the album and sets the standard with a rich tapestry of low-key psych sounds and distinctive guitar tones. Listen for same tasty drum work, a thick bass tone, and some spacy synths. Goldmine features a growly riff, a super catchy guitar hook, and low key melodic vocals which discuss materialism and human nature. On Idiologigi, listen for progressive music with complex time signatures, and an awesome closing jam. Koglek’s lyrics reject religious dogma and encourage free thought. Avatar opens with some nice harmonies on strings. The lyrics discuss the shallowness of social media culture. Listen for a cool middle-eastern sounding keyboard lead.

1.5 Degrees, a possible allusion to the Paris Climate Agreement, opens with acoustic guitars and an ethnic feel, giving way to an overdriven, distorted guitar riff. See the Fools features some nice, progressive stoner rock riffs, some great organ and string keyboard layers, and reflective vocals about peace, equality, and anti-violence. The closer, In All Your Are is incredibly encouraging lyrically, especially during the closing melodies. Listen for a crisp bass tone paired with some tasty, faster paced drums and a vibrant synth tone that fills out the track nicely.

Colour Haze performing live

Where can we find it: You can find Colour Haze’s new album, Sacred, on Bandcamp where you can download the digital album for under $9. According to their website, vinyl will be available in October and CD’s should be available later this month. The full album, with lyrics, has also been released on the band’s YouTube channel. The band is active on social media as well as their website.

TOUR DATES

Sep 24 Rockhouse – Salzburg, Austria

Sep 26 Connexion – Toulouse, France

Sep 27 Kafe Antzokia – Bilbao, Spain

Sep 28 Hard Club – Porto, Portugal

Sep 29 Nazca – Madrid, Spain

Sep 30 Tabernas Rock Festival – Almeria, Spain

Oct 1 Upload – Barcelona, Spain

Oct 2 Le Molotov – Marseille, France

Oct 7 Asta Kneipe – Rosenheim, Germany

Oct 8 Hansa 39 Keep It Low – Munchen, Germany