If you want to put together a doom festival at the moment that features the most exciting newcomer bands of today, you have to look towards Croatia: Thanks to Elusive God, this Balkan gem is playing in the top league of this genre. If you don’t know the band yet, you should read the interview we did with them in January 2021.
With Trapped in a Future Unknown, the trio presents its first full-length, which fans of the debut EP The Darkest Flame have presumably been eagerly awaiting. On their first output, the Croatians celebrated epic doom metal strongly inspired by Candlemass, which left all competitors far behind in terms of quality in 2020, including the aforementioned Swedes, who released The Pendulum in the first Corona year. Also, in 2022, there will hardly be any other band that can equal Elusive God in the field of epic doom, only On the Loose spontaneously come to mind in this respect.
It is clear that the genre boundaries are quite narrow – so innovations are not to be expected here. The three Croatians succeed in masterfully mixing well-known ingredients, resulting in an album that is a lot of fun. We are offered classic, hypnotic, sometimes also wonderfully grinding doom riffs that taste like strong red wine and make you want to enjoy an opulent meal. But since Elusive God also accelerate from time to time and have some sparkling solos in store (“Wrath from Above”!), it doesn’t get too cosy – and heavy metal fans might therefore also like to sit down at the table.
Mention should also be made of the very present, natural-sounding drums that drive the band forward well. Thanks to a terrific production, the bass is also well audible, which also sets some accents and contributes decisively to the listening pleasure. I would also like to praise the guitar tone, which could hardly be done better. Of course, the very theatrical, expressive vocals stand out in particular, which should appeal to Messiah disciples in terms of style. It’s an open secret: without outstanding vocals, an epic doom band doesn’t work. However, Elusive God are similarly well positioned in this regard as Sorcerer or Crypt Sermon.
Concerning the songwriting, it has to be said: The band creates great arcs of tension, which ensure that the good 42 minutes fly by. The tracks are – by genre standards – by no means expansive, but still long enough to unfold magnificently. The powerful, sublime choruses, which are necessary in epic doom metal to enthuse the audience, are undoubtedly a plus point. “Shadow, Beast, Devil“ and “Where is the Sun“ are particularly impressive. In general, it should be noted that Elusive God deliver typical genre fare on the lyrical level, which every doom fan appreciates, but which not all artists can put into words so eloquently: “Dreaming of Reality“, the quasi-title track, is a very smart tune in this sense, that invites you to reflect and touches every attentive listener emotionally.
Try to tame your thoughts
But don’t put them in a cage
What’s the point of this life
If you’re dreaming only of reality?
Conclusion: Elusive God firmly recommend themselves for festivals like the Hammer of Doom. However, they are also interesting for those who are not hardcore doom fans. Maybe Wolf Mühlmann from Hell over Hammaburg should call Croatia soon to treat the fans in the Markthalle at the next opportunity to a band that without any ifs and buts has a bright future ahead in artistic terms. May as many people with good taste as possible follow Elusive God on this path.