Elder - Reflect (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Reflect (2009)

Forge Again

Elder's self-titled EP from a year and change back was a pretty thrilling release. There's always a band here or there that really seem to 'get' the dynamics and power you can get when you take traditional screamo and infuse it with some space amid the chaos, and in just three intense songs, Elder proved they could be one of those lauded bands. Their followup full-length effort here, Reflect is an abbreviated, condense one at that, and doesn't quite fulfill the promise hinted at by the preceding EP, but it's hardly bad for what it is.

Opener "Empty Lots" has a familiarly frantic opening with higher-pitched, yelped vocals. It promises something really exciting, but the song suddenly just ends and it's kind of disappointing. "Niños" starts out comparatively straightforward, and while I thought Envy had a definite influence on the band before, nowhere is it more evident than in the close to this song; the lyrics are yelled in Spanish, and sure, it's not Japanese, but the restrained vocal delivery and shouting method used here, combined with a language as foreign to someone as white as me, it sure sounds Envy-ish. Mind you, that's not a bad thing.

Reflect does pick up a bit in its midsection. Some excellent guitar countermelodies and a sudden jolt of urgency make "Evasion" perhaps the album's best. There's a slowed-down conclusion in the song that's brimming with a certain beautiful and gripping tenseness that makes me think '90s post-hardcore/emo bands with greater access to effects pedals. The record lulls a bit from here, but the howled "Remember these days!" refrain will probably get your attention by the finish of the closing track with just that name.

Not quite the overwhelming powerhouse I might've been expecting, Elder's Reflect nonetheless bears a small handful of pretty mesmerizing moments. Few bands are doing good interpretations of this style anyway, so it's hard to be ungrateful for anyone doing something this worthwhile and sporadically blissful.

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