Queen Elephantine – Scarab

1
On “Scarab”, Queen Elephantine commence with quiet precussion, taking their time – moving with patience. Then menacing and dirty, join the bass and guitar, speaking wordlessly of endless despair, while band member Srinivas Reddy gives those a calm yet eerie background ambience using his tanpura(Indian instrument).

In this way the band creates an echo unique to them using only a few instruments. But even more interesting than this reverberating presence is their choice to musically, not “move” much. Instead of reaching for change, they dwell in the shadow they’ve created, looking for something, looking for nothing. Going out of hiding here and there, looking out and seeing reflecting and contrasting elements in the distance. But always returning, remaining in this dark place, in the back of your head, in a place with no light. And embracing what that means. How does that feel? Meditative? dark? sad? Listen below and you’ll have your answer.

The singing on “Veil“, which I almost forgot about since its very sparse, arrives sooner on track two, “Crone“. The praying-like wailing voices plays a role on the album, but the lyrics’ meaning elude me for the most part. One thing can be certain – they carry a certain mournfulness about them as the rest of “Scarab“, sounding like some abstract, associative eulogy. Clocking at 18 minutes, this second piece’s repetitive nature slowly turns from calming to torturous over time, making it very hard not to lose one’s mind – especially with the constantly present buzz of the indian instrument.

Track three, “Snake“, resembles doom metal the most so far in this experimental soundscape. Music-wise it is still unchanging and minimal, so dragging that it feels like time itself is being slowed down. Pretty mental stuff. Looking at the lyrics, these might confirm my guess at the textual concept. Here they are together with my interpretation:

Arms yearning, am I home again (yearning for home – to reach death\god)
Why lie on, won’t you make it out (“make it out” = make the soul exit the body)
And the saints have been here 
But in bliss and not in shame 
Bathed in wine, and not in sand 
Glimmering, glistening, suffering  (describing some kind of a funeral rite)

Simmering, glistening, suffering 
Dirt in my throat  (being buried, covered in earth..)
Drowned in my own (buried near his own – his own people – in a graveyard)
Drawn like a snake  (the dead body being dragged into the grave)
I will swallow it, swallow it (being covered in earth)
I am home again (…)

Scarab” is far, far from being a downright metal record, but is however beyond heavy in the context of its own atmosphere. Plodding, yes, it trudges on endlessly – which some will find tiring, but others might enjoy, and even – ‘not joking – worship, in a sort of cult-following manner. ‘Cause this is some dark art right here. 7/10

You can find the album and purchase it at:
http://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/album/scarab

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