Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II
01. Sigil Of Brass
02. His Teeth Did Brightly Shine
03. Waltz (A Multiplicity Of Doors)
04. The Corascene Dog
05. The Rakehell
First and foremost, it needs to be said as a preface that I am not an expert in the field of drone/doom – quite the opposite. The closest I’ve come to experiencing it is the few forays into the sound that bands such as Giant Squid or even Boris have made but I’ve never made an effort to give the genre my time. So with the new year upon us, why not? And what better place to start than with the new album from drone pioneers Earth? With a career stretching back a good twenty years and a history intermingled with grunge legends Nirvana it’d be an understatement to say their time has been interesting, but what exactly is the sound of Earth today?
Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II is the second installment of a group of recordings from early 2011 and apparently continues the descent into more minimalist and country/jazz influenced nuances. From the moment the first delicately plucked notes of ‘Sigil Of Brass‘ pervade the air, there’s a distinct sense of country but not in the unfortunate and stereotypical washboard and washtub bass way. This is the sound of opening rolling plains set simply against a background of setting sun and the luscious tones of Dylan Carson’s guitar playing. There’s just enough variation to avoid a stale atmosphere of repetition while maintaining that metronomic drone that is a cornerstone of the genre. Despite segueing seamlessly into ‘His Teeth Did Brightly Shine‘, there’s a subtle re-route towards a more somber and introspective sound. In the background, slightly more synthetic string sounds swell and ebb giving the music a slightly more ominous tone that’s far more obvious when heard through headphones.
The final three tracks, which make up the majority of the running time, are more of a collaborative effort from the band and experiment with the aforementioned jazz influences a little more. Drums shuffle and amble over a backdrop of soothing cello, pulsing bass and uplifting guitars – the tempo may be slow but the atmosphere it creates is huge. ‘The Corascene Dog‘ is a lazy but sunny afternoon spent effortlessly floating on peaceful waters with Pelican, never boring but still a relaxing and all together enjoyable experience. ‘The Rakehell‘ follows the same formula for another 12 minute journey but still doesn’t outstay it’s welcome – it’s reminiscent of Pink Floyd‘s more drawn out and thoughtful moments and while it’s no contender for the crown of their truly epic ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond‘ opus, it makes a valiant attempt at evoking that same glorious feeling with the added burden of being entirely instrumental.
Experimental artist John Cage once said:
If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
For Earth, that holds true — there’s a twisted sense of beauty in the repetition of it all. Despite all my glowing praise, do not get me wrong, this isn’t your everyday metal album – it’s barely even metal at all. Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II requires a little more of your attention span to be anything more than just background noise, the changes are subtle but the reward is so much more. My verdict on this record is hardly the be all and end all, there could be a million albums that do this sound but better and I wouldn’t know, however what I do know is that while it’s not what I normally listen to and that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I really enjoyed the latest Earth album. Minimal and subtle, but just as powerful as blastbeat-toting death metal band.
Earth’s Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II gets…