Enigmatic metal outfit Bull Elephant – you’ll remember all members of this project, now two albums old, maintain strict anonymity – have returned with the next part of their eponymously-named trilogy, in the shape of Created From Death.
However, there isn’t really any need to worry if you’re coming to this project fresh and unencumbered by any idea of what they are singing about. As with the band’s first album, all the tracks here stand perfectly well as one-off pieces of metal, meaning you can take or leave the added fripperies of story development or continuity as you please.
My colleague here at Sentinel Daily, Michael Stronge, was an enthusiastic supporter of the band’s first album when it appeared last year (read his review HERE – Ed.), but I must admit to not being quite so taken with the record as a whole. Not because of the story – who doesn’t enjoy tales of Zombie Nazis, renegade apes and such like, but more because I found the music a bit faceless.
However, Created From Death is, to my mind, a far more complete-sounding album. There aren’t as many recognisable ‘standout’ moments on this album, but the record as a whole is more cohesive, and heavier as a result. The band have quickly carved their own niche in the prog/doom space, and in their best moments (I’m thinking the superb spaciness of Escape To The Arctic here), they produce a sound that is spectacular in execution and ambition. And all their own – although have a think about Rob Halford jamming with Devin Townsend and you’re getting quite close to the glory of the Bull Elephant sound.
Even with that said, however, this isn’t a band that ever sounds particularly like anyone else. Bull Elephant are unique, not only in their raison d’etre but also in the sounds they pull together to attain their goals. They aren’t a ‘clever’ prog act – there’s never a sense of overload in terms of technique or skill – but they do demonstrably have such control over their instruments as to be able to bring the listener exactly what they want, with no regard to modern musical mores or tastes. That’s quite a skill to have, and I look forward to see where they deploy that skill in the closing part of their story.
Created From Death releases on August 14th