Somewhere in Reno, Nevada, there’s a group of guys producing some crazy heavy hardcore tunes and doing everything they can to piss off PETA –maybe. With a name like Elephant Rifle, it’s hard to know what to expect from a band, but the band plays just as powerfully as their name. By means of guitar, drum, and some of the most versatile and terrorizing vocals to be heard in a long time, Elephant Rifle will absolutely stun you; and what better way to do so than with a brand new album –Ivory. Keeping with the almost-grim namesake, the entire album is deep, dark, and menacing. Metal fans, this one’s for you.
Elephant Rifle’s Ivory is absolutely relentless. The album is atmospheric and powerful. At times it feel as if you’re living in dystopia, other times you’ll be shaken by the barrage of heavy guitars and thunderous drums. It’s hard not to get sucked into the music –if Elephant Rifle did one thing absolutely right, it was building one hell of a captivating metal/hardcore album.
Throughout listening to Ivory it almost becomes impossible not to be consumed by the music. It’s intense. Various song will force you to, at bare minimum, bob along in a trance. Every chord played strikes like lightning. Ivory is some sort of monstrosity. In particular a tune like “Rasputin” can really suck you in and chew you up. The song alternates between more quiet periods and then full on explosions of noise. Alternatively, “Red Shirts” also stands out. The drums sound off rhythmically and the guitars and vocals constantly expand in energy. While the song is a little atypical of the band’s heavy style, it stands out as a moment where Elephant Rifle seems to really come together in perfect unison. The end result is solid.
As good as Elephant Rifle’s album is, after so long it just stops being interesting. The initial listen provides a burst of energy –the band lets loose, setting forth a mix of heavy guitar lines and dark, grungy overtones. Subsequent listens become boring. The appeal begins to wither away. To be clear, Ivory isn’t bad at all, but it gets old. Energy alone isn’t enough to keep an album interesting. The easiest answer would be to do something ‘innovative’ but metal is an expansive genre as is. What more could Elephant Rifle really do? The reality is, Ivory is packed with hardcore-tropes –but Elephant Rifle pulls it off well.
Taking both good and bad into consideration, it’s hard to really place Ivory as anything less than a solid addition to the library. Elephant Rifle has produced an album that needs to find its way into every metalhead’s collection. If you’re just not passionate about distortion, growls, ferocious drumming, and the usual hard hitting punishment of the hardcore world –take a pass. Elephant Rifle’s Ivory is purely an album for the fans.