Elephant Watchtower is a one-man progressive death metal project from Ontario, Canada. The Church Is At Fault is the band’s debut EP. Had I listened to this EP without any information on the band, I think I would not have suspected that this is a one man project. The music sounds grand and fleshed-out, the many layers of the compositions complement each other and end up painting an impressive musical picture of detailed and massive soundscapes that draw you into a dark and vivid world. Lyrically, The Church Is At Fault can be read as a pamphlet on the current state of “the church”, the hypocrisy and ideological issues within it, and the often negative influence the institution has on our society, seen from the inside.
Impoverished and pained, they live in our waste
Who carries the weight of every cent we take?
Starvation prevails, our calling we’ve failed
The church is to blame for this world that we’ve ailed
Famished by selfishness, Lives have been lost
And it is our fault
Lighting our stages with stolen donations
We taint the name of Christ
These are some of the lyrics taken from the title track. Elephant Watchtower clearly don’t beat around the bush when it comes to preaching truth, as painful as it may be, in their lyrics. And the music definitely fits the severity and determination of the lyrics: Blastbeats, fast and brutal death metal riffs and abyssal growls are consistent elements of the three tracks the 27 minutes long EP consists of. But those are only some of the elements Elephant Watchtower’s music is characterized by. Melodic guitar leads, multi-layered harmonious riffing and stunning synth arrangements are utilized to give the music an impressive wall-of-sound character. Repeatedly, these periods of compositional density are interrupted by proggy breaks, with tempo-shifts and diverse musical elements such as acoustic guitar sections coming into play. The beautiful melodies, in combination with the massive walls of heaviness, give the whole record a very epic atmosphere that is only enhanced by its calmer moments.
As a whole, The Church Is At Fault is a fantastic debut EP that sounds and feels as if it was made by a very experienced band. The compositions show stylistic confidence and creativity, perfectly balancing out brutality and beauty, the production is on point, letting the multiple musical elements of the songs shine, and the overall songwriting makes for a very cohesive, entertaining and engaging listening experience. This band deserves all the attention it can get, as it shows tremendous potential and could easily become the “next big thing” in the extreme metal underground.
The Church Is At Fault was self-released May 1st and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.