Stellar Remains
Wastelands EP

Stellar Remains is an entirely new venture by Dan Elkin. I’ve scoured the web trying to find more info, but all I have is from the promo materials, so pardon my ignorance. The record label, Gutter Prince Cabal, has only recently appeared on my radar thanks to Fryktelig Stoy. I am forever grateful for them taking on the release of Disappointment, as well as Wastelands. All entities being Australian certainly makes me wish I could visit.

To begin the album is a 2-minute intro, but unlike many, this does set the stage. When the first track kicks in, the vocal approach, dirty (but sexy) production, and the guitar parts immediately remind me of Remission era Mastodon. You know, when they were hungry, not thirsty. Dan Elkin certainly reminds me of Troy Sanders.

“Weeping on the Shoulder of a Memory,” the next track, has a chaotic mood from the beginning, not entirely unlike the soundscapes Ulcerate paints. However, it slows around a minute, into a more relaxed, recent Tomb Mold section. The difference here is that Dan employs some clean vocals. They’re slightly buried in the mix, but he has a solid shoegaze or post-black metal voice. It ends by recalling my earlier Mastodon comparison.

On the final two tracks, the title track, and “Cloudbearer,” is where proceedings get expansive and progressive. Here’s where some of those Tomb Mold references come back, with perhaps some early Opeth. The gruff vocals come back and briefly trade barbs with the cleans, but that’s just the first of the two final ones.

The last one, which is of course the longest, is nearly 8 minutes. A couple of minutes in, there’s a jazz section. Not long after, it sounds like earlier Mastodon again, but this time think Leviathan. It’s death, sludge, progressive, frantic, and fantastic.

Those words sum up Stellar Remains’ debut EP nicely. I’ve listened to this several times, and it doesn’t sound like the work of one man, but a full band. That speaks well to Mr. Elkin’s songwriting chops. I for one am looking forward to a full-length because as many times as I have listened, it remains… stellar. Go ahead and groan but get this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 23rd, 2024


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