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'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II
(Southern Lord)
Release Date: 4th February 2012

Jeff Kent

jeff kent

If plate tectonics had a soundtrack, it would be composed and recorded by Seattle's Earth.


Earth is probably best know for starting (or contributing to) the whole doom drone movement in the late 80s and early 90s along with Neurosis. They also show up a lot as a footnote in the history of grunge because some guy named Kurt Cobain appeared on their first release, 'Extra-Capsular Extraction' in 1991. There's also the bit about Earth founder and Kurt's friend Dylan Carlson buying the gun that Cobain used to ummm, well you remember how that went down.

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On their latest release 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II' we shockingly pick up where part I left off with more glacially slow improvisation sprinkled liberally with shining moments of light. The sounds on this album are slow and deliberate and it seems that each note is left to hang out in the open and fully ring out before introducing the next. Some might find it boring, but I think it's fascinating.

Too much of today's music is about speed and volume or both, so it's good to sit back and hear the sounds of the instruments in a way that let's you fully appreciate what they can do sonically. With a lineup of guitar, bass, drums and cello this is a bottom heavy record and as I mentioned it lends itself to images of the slow moving continents of a prehistoric Earth... huh, imagine that.

'Sigil Of Brass' is the perfect introduction with its mid-range chiming guitar floating over droning bass and cello with the occasional cymbal roll. It almost sounds as if Dylan were simply tuning his guitar and the rest of the band started playing behind him.

'His Teeth Did Brightly Shine' has a Soundgarden meets The Doors playing 'The End' vibe that starts to shed a little more light on the birth of the planet. If Disney had made an alternate version of 'Fantasia' they may have chosen this instead of Stravinsky's 'Rite Of Spring' for the evolution sequence. You can almost see the ancient creatures crawling onto land from the primordial ooze as the bass lumbers along providing a dirge of life.

Speaking of doors we have 'A Multiplicity Of Doors (A Waltz)' next in the sequence, still plodding and slow, but with a shade of optimism. These creatures may just make something of themselves on land. The cello of Lori Goldston takes a more prominent role on this track and almost adds something like a melody. When the guitar chords line up just right with the cello you can almost hear what sounds like early bluegrass, albeit it at an obscenely slow tempo. This might be a nod to their 2009 album, 'The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull', which featured some twangy guitar work from their fellow Washingtonian and noted Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell.

'The Corascene Dog' is among the peppier pieces on the record, but that's not saying much as the rest of it is so slow. At this point the tempo does start to wear on your ears a little. Luckily the last track 'The Rakehell' has a main riff that sounds a lot like 'Born Under A Bad Sign' so you have something to latch onto to carry you through the end.

If you need a break from all the warp speed Metal and vocal histrionics going on today, then put on Earth's 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II' and let it wash over you like hot lava. You'll come away feeling cleansed and refreshed... or something.



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