Monday, March 19, 2012

Elizabeth - Where Vultures Land

Elizabeth are a hardcore band from Geneva. My friend tipped me off to their debut full-length Where Vultures Land a few days ago so I decided to check it out.

Drenched in reverb, the album opens with a twang and ends with a bang. Where Vultures Land is a pretty stark exercise in the hardcore mentality with some infectious grooves on tracks like "Sharp Teeth And Knives" and some slower tracks like "Sailor's Grave" and "The Call." There's plenty of classic hardcore aggression on here too, with tracks like "Candles" and the closer "Rising Kingdom." In essence the album has got a bit of everything you're used to in the hardcore scene. It's Elizabeth's execution of those staples that makes this album enjoyable.

Coming from more abrasive hardcore and crustcore bands like All Pigs Must Die, Black Breath, and Pulling Teeth, it's easy for me to see Where Vultures Land as a bit more soft and fleshy. The treble is kicked up in the production and from the start of "Darkness" you can tell that the lead guitar tone is going to be rather twangy. This is something I never really got used to on Where Vultures Land but I guess amongst my rather small library of hardcore artists it makes Elizabeth stand out.

I can definitely say I'm a fan of Elizabeth's "breakdowns" (not even sure I'd call them breakdowns), but tracks like "Heartbeats" end with a technical flurry of notes prior to descending into a chugging break. "The Call" utilizes a similar breakdown too and it sounds fucking great. This gives the tracks a lasting feel, like what I just listened to was pummeled into my skull and the imprint is still there for a few more tracks. Some of the more slow tracks like "Sailor's Grave" really didn't do much for me, and honestly from what I can tell it isn't a style Elizabeth really excels at. Awkward, semi-clean vocals permeate the track with a droning chord progression that evokes a sense of...boredom. However the end to the track has the use of a sweet jazz chord and that is something I can endorse.

Where Vultures Land is a good, interesting start for Elizabeth and for the hardcore genre. There's definitely enough substance here to keep me coming back for repeated listens, and the album is short enough and inexhaustive enough to listen through several times in a single sitting.

7.75 out of 10

1. Darkness
2. The Call
3. Sharp Teeth And Knives
4. Sailor's Grave
5. Candles
6. Black Eyed
7. Heartbeats
8. Rising Kingdom

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