Forming in 2012 Elatus is a four-piece band comprised of Connor MacNeil (vocals/guitar), Chris Sheridan (bass), Andrew Breeze (lead guitar) and Justin McQuaid (drums). The band has been hard at work for quite some time working on their first release entitled Anchors. They play a steady stream of rock music that veers towards ‘90s style grunge. In particular I immediately noticed similarities to Alice in Chains especially when it came to MacNeil’s vocal style.
The recording quality is solid for a DIY project but there are a couple things here and there that separate it from a commercial release. Out of all the minor issues the one that stuck out to me right away was the sound of the cymbals. There were simply too many high-end frequencies making it sound thin and also harder to endure at higher volumes. The guitars, bass and vocals sounded good if just a tab bit muddy at times.
The songwriting is consistently solid. There aren’t a ton of hooks and some of the songs like the first track “Back Around” play around in a good way with structure. The song starts off with some feedback and then immediately delves into vocal harmonies. Without much warning the song gains some energy from a steady, fast drumbeat. The chorus feels like it descends instead of ascending which I thought was unique. It’s the verse that really gives the song its energy.
“Conspiracy” is a well-crafted, dynamic song with a good amount of changes. The band utilizes their distortion pedals sparingly and I thought the vocals were especially catchy and memorable on this track. Arguably the most single worthy song on the album.
Out of all the songs “Drain” sounds the most like it comes straight from the ‘90s grunge scene. In fact MacNeil sounds eerily similar to Layne Staley. The next two tracks “Little Bit Closer” and “Location 8” are no-frills, heavy rocking songs. They close with a highlight entitled “Malibu.” The band rocks especially hard and the overlapping vocal harmonies were a nice touch.
The only question I ever raise with bands that sound like they came from another decade is “wouldn’t you just listen to bands from that era that perfected the sound?” My answer is sometimes. It’s great to listen to bands that were the pioneers of a ubiquitous sound but there are only so many times you can spin the same song. With that if you are still yearning for some ‘90s style grunge bands and Mudhoney and Soundgarden have gotten a bit repetitive I would recommend Anchors.
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