Lord Elephant – Cosmic Awakening
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 08/07/22
Running Time: 42:39
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, my naughty little pumpkins. It is I, Dark Juan, and I have returned from dropping Mrs Dark Juan off at the family tattoo studio (Squid Shock Tattoo in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, only a year’s waiting list!) to be tattooed by our son in law. Being at somewhat of a loose and mildly depressed end while this is happening, (mainly because I am not being tattooed and I am not good enough to tattoo the Dark Judges from 2000 A.D. on my thigh by myself without it looking like a sugar-fuelled and deeply psychotic toddler has attacked me with a tattoo machine), I have returned to Dark Juan Terrace, sans beer (because I have a rule about drinking which means I don’t drink after 5 p.m. – this is entirely arbitrary and based on the famous, and actually entirely acceptable country song “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet – to my considerable surprise this is also a rule that my mother in law follows, FOR THE SAME REASON!) and having run out of milk for brews, I have opted to submerge myself in my beloved Metal, so I don’t get bored, as the Devil makes work for idle hands.
Hence, I am currently floating in the outer reaches of cosmic experience with the aid of Italian instrumental Stoner trio Lord Elephant. Instrumental Stoner. Now there’s a thing I didn’t know I needed to hear. Especially Italian stoner. Now, that sun-kissed land of beautiful ladies, incredible Renaissance religious art (now there’s an interest you didn’t know Dark Juan has. Caravaggio’s angels are TO DIE FOR) and extraordinary wines is a wonderful place, Dark Juan having been blessed with visiting it twice and falling in love with it, yet smoked out Stoner grooves are not something Dark Juan immediately associates with Italy, being rather more used to horrifically cheesy Euro handbag house music and a fine line in melancholy Gothic Metal (Lacuna Coil and Blue Hour Ghosts, I’m looking at you both. Actually that isn’t true. I’m goggling at Cristina Scabbia. I was once absolutely delighted to have a report about Cristina sashaying past an acquaintance wearing a party frock at a show in London once, and said acquaintance witnessed a young man walk into a pillar because he wasn’t watching where he was going because he was busy ogling the Italian object of most Metal blokes’ desires) of superior quality.
Yes, Instrumental Stoner. I was wondering whether the music itself would be enough to sustain the interest of the listener, because a gravel gargling vocalist is normally the…. well, norm with this kind of music. Yet, it pleases your correspondent mightily to report that instrumental Doomy, fuzz-filled Stoner may well be the way forward. Lord Elephant may have cornered an esoteric little part of the scene that no-one has considered. Opening two tracks ‘Cosmic Awakening Parts 1 and 2’ (‘Forsaken Slumber’ and ‘First Radiation’ respectively) are simply monolithic, mountainous, slow building magnificence. Tube screamers and fuzz phasers are the order of the day on this recording. Riffs of sublime majesty writhe elegantly and sinuously throughout the music, with plaintively wailing lead lines screaming for attention cut through the nebulous grooves with extraordinary clarity. I kid you not, readers, there are parts of this record that are less music and more string bent electric alchemy. This, of course, is a Very Good Thing.
‘Desert Collision’ sees these three Italian stoner auteurs pick up their metaphorical skirts and break orbital velocity for a trip out among the stars. Speedy for Doom Metal, the groove soon slows down to neck-threatening slow mosh speed and changes from exploratory magnificence to slow, grinding bludgeoning. So far, so cosmically epic.
‘Raktabija’ (being an asura, or loosely translated, a demon in Hindu mythology. Never let it be said that you are not edified and educated by my rabid ranting) continues the acid and mogadon fuelled explorations of the outer limits of groove, and it is not too much to state that Dark Juan has achieved some kind of understanding of the universe without the copious quantities of psilocybin he normally resorts to because of Lord Elephant. ‘Covered In Earth’s Blood’ has a simply gorgeous little nugget of dissonance running through the tune – it adds a kind of rigid little motif that draws you back from all the nebulous galaxy exploring that’s going on and just anchors your attention in a manner that is far greater than the sum total of its musical contribution.
My favourite tune on the record is the simply sublime ‘Stellar Cloud’ because of the sheer, unadulterated Bluesiness of it all. Riffs all stemming from the same root abound and spread majestically above the head of the intrepid listener as they concentrate their awareness inwards and soar off in an exploration of their own mind and soul, solos peeling through the thunder and fury of the metal to remind them that they are still corporeal…
The final cut on this rather marvellous record is ‘Secreternal’ and appears to be an experiment by Lord Elephant into a number of different theories – just how slow music can go before it is reclassified as continental drift, just how much fuzz is too much (the answer is none. All the fuzz in the world will never be enough) and just how possible it is to create a black hole by bludgeoning and compressing the listener under the weight of their utterly mighty sound until they become neutronium and trigger the heat death of the universe. Obviously, these were not completed under laboratory conditions and their reports haven’t been published and peer-reviewed so it can’t be classed as science.
The production on this album is beyond majestic. Crushing, yet with excellent clarity, fuzzy yet with real bite and with drums that power through the mix like a bunch of mentally deranged jackhammer wielding bastards, it makes for such a sonically dense listening experience that the British Army are looking at it to replace the armour on their main battle tanks. It is one of the finest production jobs I have ever heard on any record, let alone a Stoner album. It is clean yet utterly filthy, heavy yet easy to listen to and more satisfying than the aftermath of a… no, I can’t put that. That would be wrong on so many levels.
It is very satisfying indeed. There, we have successfully managed to say something without offending anyone. There’s a first.
Also, I just looked back at the blurb I got with the record and have discovered that this is a DEBUT long player! Lord Elephant sound like they have been together for decades, having an easy-going, fluid sympatico with each other that belies the fact that this platter is their first. An almost perfect debut offering, then, and one that has no faults. Believe me, I tried but Lord Elephant’s intoxicating blend of stoner groove, psychedelic weirdness and blues rock chops is just too irresistible.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan) has returned from its voyage to the Outer Dark and the many, many grams of psychedelics it has been ruining its brainstem with to award Lord Elephant 10/10 for a debut of monolithic magnificence, mountainous grooves and universal trippiness. Stellar, baby.
01. Cosmic Awakening Pt. I – Forsaken Slumber
02. Cosmic Awakening Pt. II – First Radiation
03. Hunters Of The Moon
04. Desert Collision
06. Covered In Earth’s Blood
07. Stellar Cloud
Leandro Gaccione – Guitar
Edoardo De Nardi – Bass
Tommaso Urzino – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Darj Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.