Elysian Plains - We Shall Flow A River Forth To Thee (Cover Artwork)

Elysian Plains

We Shall Flow A River Forth To Thee (2004)


When you think of Georgia and music, typically the Atlanta scene comes to mind, along with bigger bands like Showbread and Norma Jean. Middle Georgia may not be known for its scene, but down here we have loyalty and some bands who deserve to be heard. Among these is Elysian Plains, hailing from Warner Robins. Playing hardcore with a heavy punk influence (along the same vein as The Hope Conspiracy), Elysian Plains has something to offer everyone. You want chugging breakdowns, brutal screams, and something you can spin-kick to? You've found it right here.

The band's DIY release We Shall Flow A River Forth To Thee contains five tracks spanning the band's broad range of influences. Lyrics are personal, at times pleading to an unknown soul, and at others speaking of human nature in a more-than-slightly-jaded way. These boys are far from naive.

The disc opens solid with the gratuitous movie quote and goes straight into one of the strongest tracks, "The Losing War." This song is a great showcase of the EP's variety, with drummer Johnny Shumate firing off the blast beats and guitarists Drew Walton and Brandon Sutton seamlessly transitioning from speed to style with guitars that -- at times -- scream hardcore. Speaking of scream, singer Justin Kirby shows off his inhuman vocal ability right off the bat. Brutal is the only word to describe it. Balanced by Sutton's pleading voice, vocals are more than covered throughout Elysian Plains's music.

This CD is packed with punk in the middle, with the next three tracks being more punk-influenced than the beginning and ending efforts. Track 2, "False Reality," is the disc's weakest in my opinion, but is still a great song. "Youthanasia" is a solid, fast track and includes bassist Chris Smith's only solo that breaks away from his foundation position behind Walton and Sutton, a position he holds down firmly.

As the album begins to come to a close, Elysian Plains shows us just how pissed off they really are. "Count Your Sins" doesn't plead, but tells the listener just what the hell is going on with lyrics like "Your silver tongue is only lead / Hide your face and say your prayers".

We Shall Flow comes to a close with the crowd-pleasing "Killing Spree." Walton and Sutton compliment each other strongly in the intro, and carry on through fast-paced verses and choruses. Kirby is in full effect with harsh lyrics including "We smile to their faces / Then spit upon their graves" until the crowd-chant of "Murderer!" during a heavy breakdown near the song's end. All in all, it's a solid way to close an overall solid effort.

With cleaner production, this could be an amazing release for a band whose oldest member is only 18. If you look beyond the recording value and focus on the tracks themselves, We Shall Flow A River Forth To Thee might just impress you.

You can hear "Killing Spree" and "Count Your Sins" on the band's pureVOLUME site and "Losing War" on their Myspace page