I am most certainly no stranger to the oddity that is Queen Elephantine. When I’d first learned of the rather unnoticed sludge/drone movement, I was introduced to their very paced, almost meticulous, release Garland Of Skulls. Though, immediately I knew the band wasn’t too popular due to its aforementioned nature, something about the slow melancholic pace really did it for me. I have always been a fan of slow buildups but Queen Elephantine – this strange group whose members span from Providence to Hong Kong – is almost completely a buildup. Scarab, to me, seems to almost be a perfection on their unique sound.
Now, for those fresh – don’t go into this release expecting anything ‘sludge’ like Lumbar, YOB, or Buzzoven. What you are getting here is something akin to, though more functional than, bands such as Undersmile. Actually, I can just about say Queen Elephantine and Undersmile are the only bands I can quite pin for this particular sound. It’s something only barely describable – a slow and sinister yet exotic movement. Scarab is by far their most ‘psychedelic’ release, but in all honesty – I’d be more terrified to be under the influence of anything and listening to this album than even with the depressive Garland of Skulls.
I would go into riffs and structure but I’m under the impression that Queen Elephantine improvises their entire works ala Miles Davis. No joke, there is absolutely no way to know where things are going on Scarab. One moment you sound to be in a wide open stretch of despair with ‘Veil’ and by the time you’re done you find yourself claustrophobic and alienated with ‘Clear Light Of The Unborn’. Sometimes, without notice, songs will be taking a silent approach and suddenly ghostly foreign voices sound without warning. Needless to say, by the time I finished Scarab – 4 lengthy tracks of terrifying psychedelic alienation – I felt as if I’d traversed some twisted ethereal reality.
4. Clear Light Of The Unborn
Queen Elephantine is:
Mat Becker – Bass
Indrayudh Shome – Guitar
Ian Sims – Drums
Nathanael Totushek – Additional Drums
Srinivas Reddy – Tanpura/Swarm
Brett Zweiman – Slide guitar/Divine Mosquito