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Elitist - "Fear in a Handful of Dust" (CD)

Elitist - "Fear in a Handful of Dust" CD cover image

"Fear in a Handful of Dust" track listing:

1. Burning the Unspoken Gospel (5:24)
2. Cult Malevolence (2:43)
3. Ivory Shavings of the Tools Unknown (4:55)
4. Black Wool (2:25)
5. Watch as They Worship, Yet Be Silent (1:51)
6. Slowly Fucked and Force Fed (2:27)
7. A Howling Wind (1:49)
8. Human All Too Human (4:02)
9. Bound and Bent (1:31)
10. Toothless and Yawning (1:31)
11. Tower of Meth (6:17)

Reviewed by on June 20, 2011

"The band’s sound puts on a sludgy tone sideswiped by a kinetic death metal/hardcore style. Whatever musical side they are on, the end product is one that will need a few aspirins to overcome."

It’s hard for any band to make 33 minutes exhausting to get through, but Elitist makes it possible with “Fear In A Handful Of Dust.” Vile feedback buzzes on every song, rich with misery and a loathing attitude towards everyone. The band’s sound puts on a sludgy tone sideswiped by a kinetic death metal/hardcore style. Whatever musical side they are on, the end product is one that will need a few aspirins to overcome. The negativity is palpable, and the lack of any hopeful outcomes will please the cynics out there.

People who have listened to the recent outputs from Gaza and Trap Them have a better understanding of how “Fear In A Handful Of Dust” conducts itself. From the very moment the distorted riffs and fuzzy bass emerge from “Burning The Unspoken Gospel,” it’s do or die time; no chickening out at this juncture. The pace is beyond slow, almost begging for a jump in tempo that never appears. The band doesn’t make it any easier, as one has to be patient and work for acceptance into the covenant of noise known as Elitist.

“Burning The Unspoken Gospel” is just one of several sludge/doom treks. “Tower of Meth” gets by on tormented screams and discordant instrumentation. While the band only has one guitarist, there is enough anarchy created to make it seem like there is triple that number. “Human All Too Human” and “Ivory Shavings Of The Tools Unknown” follow along the same lines as the two tracks above, not deviating much from the chemistry of static music and dark musings of a venomous mind.

Cutting loose on “Bound And Bent” and “Black Wool,” Elitist shows speedy finesse to their sound. It’s only brief, but they are a pleasant divider from the sludgier tunes. An issue with the quicker songs is their lack of gripping traits. “Watch As They Worship, Yet Be Silent” is a tedious interlude of feedback and “Toothless and Yawning” feels like a three-minute song jammed into half the time. It’s when the band pushes past the four-minute slot that the true potential materializes.

“Fear In A Handful Of Dust” is a one-dimensional record, for the most part. A stellar lead guitar breakdown on “Ivory Shavings Of The Tools Unknown” and some nifty rhythm fills show a dynamic lacking on much of the material. It’s noisy, for sure, but that’s all there is to it. Angry music is great, but when that anger doesn’t have any substance behind it, then it comes off as frivolous. This debut from Elitist isn’t worthy enough to stand alongside acts like Trap Them and Early Graves, but the glimpses of excellency are apparent enough to warrant some type of attention.

Highs: Noisy and angry record, takes its musical cues from Gaza and Trap Them, sludge/death metal/hardcore hybrid

Lows: The shorter songs seem rushed, a lackluster interlude in "Watch As They Worship, Yet Be Silent"

Bottom line: Feedback-intense music for fans of the raucous side of metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)