Over the past decade, Elder and Kadavar—from Massachusetts and Germany, respectively—have established themselves as two titans of the heavy-psych underground, geographically separated but united in their affinity for rumbling guitar riffs, labyrinthine jams, and vintage prog stylings. The former having relocated from Boston to Berlin in the 2010s, it was only a matter of time before the two crossed paths, and thanks to a bout of lockdown-induced boredom, the moment has come. On their new collaborative LP, ELDOVAR: A Story of Darkness & Light, Elder and Kadavar apply their pre-established strengths as metallurgists into a familiar yet forward-looking communion.
“From Deep Within,” for example, sounds like what you’d expect from this partnership, with four and a half minutes of galloping, Kadavar-esque stoner metal bookended by five minutes of cosmic arpeggios straight out of the Elder-verse. But “El Matador” is a gorgeous, gently pulsating ballad about world-changing love, and “In The Way” is (mostly) a Zeppelin-style folk song built from the pillow-soft strum of an acoustic guitar, swelling string sections and a bona fide chorus. These respective spheres, and the strengths associated with them, collide spectacularly on the album’s 11-minute centerpiece, “Blood Moon Night,” a multiplex merger of loping psych rock, shoegaze-inflected thrash, and in its closing moments, even shimmering electronics. “A freak knows only one direction/ Down the road you’ll find me,” Kadavar’s Christoph Lindemann declares in the song’s first verse: the proclamations of a lone wolf, electrified by invigorating group chemistry.