Der Elefant – “Der Elefant” (Spinn Up)
A German – American trio with ‘…a mission to make a statement with music with no words…’, as you may have guessed, Der Elefant is an instrumental outfit. What may not be quite as obvious however, is that all 3 guys currently play in Tarja’s band – guitarist Alex Scholpp (Tarja, Farmer Boys, Tieflader), bassist Kevin Chown (Tarja, Chad Smith´s Bombastic Meatbats, Paul Gilbert) and drummer Timm Schreiner (Tarja, Good Men Gone Bad) – and together they make a sound that’s hard to ignore, even if you’re the elephant in the room! Whilst there’s only 3 tracks here there’s certainly plenty to get your head around given how packed they are with technicality and virtuosity. The 6 minute ‘Caterpillar’ begins with Metallica ‘Jump In The fire’ licks mixing into Helmet’s chopping heaviness before going into a Primus trip of cheese thick bass and Larry Lalonde weird style licks followed by a jazz funk passage with prominent bass and dancing lead work before heavy metal soloing takes us back to the beginning. ‘Elephant’ see’s Megadeth’s technical rhythms and jazz fusion guitars mixed with Metallite riffing in the middle and culminating in Helmet’s grinding heaviness at the end. Final track ‘Freedom’ starts with pumping bass and fast paced guitar kinda like Helmet in a more melodic groove which gives way to Rush like ambience followed by Megadeth techno soloing before chopping away once more to a smashing finish. Although the trio would like to see themselves as ‘dangerous’ and ‘edgy’ I would say this self titled debut is more a very classy piece of instrumental work, less so to rock off the walls which it will no doubt do to some, but more for the discerning listener appreciative of the technically dexterous work here, and of the musicians, each having long standing careers in the trenches of the rock world, besides touring with some of the biggest names in the business?