ELITE - We Own The Mountains CD
Back in June I was reading an article from a Metal mag where the author made the claim that I thought was presumptuous. The author stated that as of 2008, bands from other countries had taken the Black Metal banner out of the hands of the Norwegians and ran away with it. The guy based his opinion on how all of these bands from other countries had added touches from other genres. The basic idea was to give their Black Metal sound the innovation needed to make it more accessible to modern listeners. Ah, yeah whatever. Obviously this was before the release of ELITE's third full length, We Own The Mountains. This is like a cold blast of winter wind coming down from the mountains. The kind of wind that will either freeze the unexpected in their tracks or slice their flesh like a razor. And that should be no surprise since ELITE hail from Mo I Rana, Norway which is just below the polar circle. The music on here is as cold and unforgiving as their winters. It is also sharp enough to cut through whatever bull lay before them.
ELITE are not straight forward Norwegian Black Metal. They add touches of many other genres to complete their sound. If you wanna call it innovation then fine. If you wanna call it Pagan then that's closer to the mark. As for me I see it as something which many of the genre's best bands have always been doing for years. The difference is that the good ones, like ELITE, add things in subtle ways. For example on We Own The Mountains I can definitely hear touches of Melodic Death Metal and maybe some Thrash influence. But ELITE manages to mesh everything together so the songs have this steady flow to them. It's more like being enveloped by an epic storm from the north. Tempos shift in song structures, the guitars sweep in and out like wind gusts. In fact this is one of the more interesting guitar sounds I've heard all year from a Black Metal band. It's got that CHARGED tone that's not over produced but still not too raw where it would come across like fuzz. DARKTHRONE will always be kings of Black Metal fuzz. ELITE has this crisp fresh sound that's needed in this genre now. The vocals are of the harsh variety and blend in sync with the music. I know there will be others who will nit-pick their way through this release. I could just as easily spot an influence here or a borrowing of something from a past great too. But I'll leave that childish bullshit to the losers who wouldn't know good music even if it crashed on them like an avalanche. As for as I'm concerned this is definitely one of the best releases this year.