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Bull Elephant - The Long War review

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Band: Bull Elephant
Album: The Long War
Release date: November 2023

01. Expansion From Perceived Reality
02. Blackened Chaos Horizon
03. Berlin Falling
04. Zentrum Der Neuen Welt
05. Severing The Last Strands Of Self
06. The Long War

Bull Elephant is an anonymous, progressive doom metal band, based in London, and The Long War is their third album, concluding a trilogy about a slain African elephant that was reanimated to take part in World War II.

Each of the three albums by Bull Elephant tells a story that reads as a H.P. Lovecraft take on Raiders of the Lost Ark. The self-titled debut is about the reanimation of the pachyderm by an occultist Nazi, in order to be used in battle, but a shaman witch intervenes because she has other plans for the elephant’s purpose. On Created From Death, the creature is destroyed and reconstructed into human form, and is placed into the care of a renegade ape, while Nazi zombies, assault wolves, and a battle-armoured whale that could eat Moby Dick for breakfast, all participate in the war. And here we are now, in 1945, and the elephant initially enters the fray to defend Berlin from the Red Army. The final act takes place in occupied China, where Imperial Japan's infamous Unit 731 was based. It’s quite a challenge to back up such a compelling story with equally gripping music, isn’t it? But Bull Elephant deliver the goods on that front too, so let’s talk music.

A great opener begins to march slowly with a heavy and stoner-y doom riff that goes on for almost the entire track. The varying vocals, the accompanying lead and clean guitars, the ‘70s Black Sabbath feel, and some grungy spice here and there keep it going, until the blastbeats kick in around the 7-minute mark, before the song hits on the brakes again, and obeys the inner-city speed limit. But these blastbeats were here to stay; “Blackened Chaos Horizon”, which follows, is full of them, being a blackened, doom death metal atomic bomb. The album flows like this for its entirety, with slower, more atmospheric passages being mixed with thrashier, faster, and more aggressive ones. The closing title track is a 13-minute progressive rock/sludgy doom/vicious thrash epic, with a very emotional outro. The Long War is bookended by its best cuts, with “Berlin Falling” being another standout song; it seems they thrive with the longer compositions.

The album was mastered by Dan Swanö, and has an impeccable sound. Bull Elephant seem to care about important details that other bands don’t pay much attention to any more, and are releasing The Long War in a 24-bit full dynamic range edition that would be used for vinyl in the same price as the normal digital download, while the CD format features an enormous 36-page artwork and lyrics book. Bands that look after their releases this way, deserve to be rewarded.

Bull Elephant have made an album (well, three, actually, but this review is for their latest one) about World War II, seen through the eyes of Steven Spielberg, with a strong Lovecraftian colouring. They made it sludgy and atmospheric, with elephantine (yeah, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity) riffs, brooding atmosphere, and they sprinkled it with some ferocious blastbeats. They used insane vocals ranging from soft cleans to brutal growls, to hardcore howls. And, finally, they put everything in an irresistible package so that you have no excuse not to grab the elephant by the tusks.

“Final fate, third trial
Win or lose, once and for all
Anchored to the unity
That is found at the end of time”

Written on 16.11.2023 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 4   Visited by: 64 users
16.11.2023 - 13:55
Auntie Sahar
Drone Strike
You had me at "a slain elephant reanimated to take part in World War II." Jesus, what the fuck are these bands smoking lately and where can I get some?

Prog doom is definitely something I could use more of. Last Big Ones for the style I can really recall were Pallbearer (kinda), and I also really liked Anciients throwing more stoner and even a bit of BM into their mix as well. Definitely gonna scope this one soon, but I suppose it would be better to start with the first album of said trilogy?
Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
16.11.2023 - 14:36
I'd love to see this as a movie. Meanwhile I'm gonna check out the actual music.
Bow to the King Hercules!
16.11.2023 - 16:20

Written by Auntie Sahar on 16.11.2023 at 13:55

Definitely gonna scope this one soon, but I suppose it would be better to start with the first album of said trilogy?

Yes, that's what I did, it was a new band to me, so I listened to their albums in the order they were released. This one's officially coming out tomorrow, so you have time to check out the first two today
20.11.2023 - 16:40
Rating: 7

Cool find Ni, this is an interesting mix of a few different styles. The title track is my favourite song here, covers quite a bit of proggy/stonery/sludgy territory

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