ALBUM REVIEW: Elliott’s Keep

Elliott's Keep

Elliott’s Keep

‘Nascentes Morimur’
November 2013

This is the third album from the Dallas misery-mongers and it’s got to be a contender for the ‘Most Depressing Album Title Ever’ award. ‘From The Moment We Are Born, We Begin To Die’ is the translation from Latin. The band’s decision to choose a Latin name for the album, as they did with their previous releases, indicates their commitment to the noblest traditions of doom metal. The bleak-looking castle on the cover bears further testament.

‘Nascentes Morimur’ is a triumph of tight, epic thrashy doom metal, delicately balanced halfway between Slayer and Solitude Aeturnus (the latter being an obvious comparison, as fellow Texans, but legitimate nevertheless). Elliott’s Keep have a sound and style that’s all their own; a Cerebral Fix for the 2010’s.

Throughout this consistently engaging and inventive full-length album, it is the quality of the songwriting that dominates and controls the listening experience. These guys have the skill and experience to create songs that draw you in – the guitars and drums charge along with power and poise, dragging you with them by the scruff of your neck. The best doom metal uses light and dark, fast and slow, to great effect, and this is something at which Elliott’s Keep excel. The clever changes of direction and pace – sometimes chugging like vintage Metallica, other times slowing it down for a good old wail – are carefully controlled and expertly executed. While the music is often simple and profound, there are a number of progressive elements subtly stirred into the miserable mix.

Elliott’s Keep were named in honour of deceased friend Glenn Riley Elliott, a singer with whom they had formed doom outfit Marauder. Later, when the current band was created, bass player Ken Greene took over at the microphone and he has grown into the role impressively. Greene may not have the range of his vaunted neighbour Robert Lowe but he does his thing with aplomb. Half-growled, snarling verses suddenly burst into panoramic, epic choruses as he enters into a kind of schizophrenic doom-chat with himself. One of the biggest down sides to ‘Nascentes Morimur’, however, is a lack of variety in some of Green’s melodies – he seems to end many of his lines in the same fashion, a habit that gets a little tiring. 

With great production from J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Mercyful Fate, etc), everyone is afforded the space to effortlessly shine through the mix, and the album benefits from a crisp and clear sound. It provides a perfect platform for Elliott’s Keep to demonstrate their unique take on doom metal, one which is as traditional as it is unusual. ‘Nascentes Morimur’ is a masterful effort that is sure to win a place in the hearts of all trad and epic doom fans.

Listen and buy here:


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