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Elks: Destined for the Sun (Tee Pee)

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At this crucial moment in our troubled nation's history, as infinite war and stock-market crashes threaten to bring low a once-mighty nation, do fans of super-heavy music really need a concept album chronicling the strange saga of "a tribe of nomadic space Vikings"?

Hell yeah, we do.

Escapism is what metal often delivers, and the Brooklyn quartet Elks builds a strong case for making the stars our imaginative destination with a six-song EP of cosmic import and sound.

Destined for the Sun possesses interstellar expanse and laser-gun grit despite being, essentially, a really loud comic book for metalheads. Imagine Motörhead hurtling around the planet, locked in manic orbit, and you get a sense of Elks' sonic firepower, especially on the galactic gallop of "The Two Moons of Mars," with its star-scraping, otherworldly guitar solos that no other aggressive band comes close to emulating. "Eaters of the Dead" is a chugging emergency descent, causing you to reach for an oh-shit handle while looking for a spacesuit to don. But it's "Fall of the Starchitect" that's sure to hit you like the monolith encounter in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Moreover, Sun is a raw yet detailed recording of a band playing live in the studio. There's no Pro Tools bullshit to polish what's essentially a must-buy for Mastodon and High on Fire fans.

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