Review: Ealdor Bealu – Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

The Pacific coast, a house that looks like a wizard hat, and the dark ambiance of down tempo prog rock is all too common these days.

Actually, it isn’t.

For that matter, neither is the sound from Boise, Idaho’s Ealdor Bealu.

Framing the release of Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, Boise, Idaho’s tour-de-dark psych quartet sought out the elements regionally in the Pacific Northwest as well as their local Treasure valley. Shifting within a mesmerizing seven tracks of ambient, echoing revelation Carson Russell (Guitar, Vocals), Travis Abbott (Guitar), Rylie Collingwood (Bass, Vocals), and Alex Wargo (Drums) have crafted a debut release that is as vast as it is purposeful.

Imagine if you will Brad Roberts testing his hand at leading The Mars Volta; specifically the drifting lingering tracks nestled deep. Now mix in a surging tidal wave of sound that consumes your psyche before receding back into its depths. The resulting, nearly hour, decent into the minds of Ealdor Belau is best suited for a cover-to-cover listen. At times coming across as a daunting, dismal vast emptiness, the sound will engulf you and deliver you in a way that is nearly unheard of at this point in a musical career. “This Too Shall Endure,” coming in at over eleven minutes, is prime example of the Belau sound. Drawn out vocals dance among long chords like a losing lover’s embrace. The pairing of Russell and Collingwood’s vocals are as ominous as they are striking. Almost as if we’re hearing the sincerity of innocence dancing with the devil. As is their modus operandi, the dark recesses and empty plains of silence paint the landscape on which Dark Water thrives. As the music builds it drive on a road paved by early psychedelic pioneers, yet on a transport bolted together by heavy rock. Guitar pairings grind on heavy rhythms that build and die like waves at sea. From distant slides to walls of sound to abrupt changes, Bealu defines their space well. In all, however, it is best listened to either live, or in the confines of one’s solitude in either a dimly lit room or while driving in the rain.

What’s more impressive with this release is that the cinematic vision it creates is bound to be perceived differently by each listener. As Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain pours down around the embers on the ground, the ensuing smoke and steam crafts visions that are to be interpreted by the listener and the listener alone.

Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor of Nanobot Rock.

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