Editor’s note: this post first ran under the impression that Earth Moves operate under Holy Roar due to them appearing under their Bandcamp user. However, Earth Moves are actually signed under Truthseeker Music, a sister label of Holy Roar. Head on over here and check their roster out; it’s pretty damn great!
Just this week, as part of our Editors’ Picks column, I spoke a bit about the ever-changing soundscape of post-hardcore, its upcoming solidification as the genre proliferates and interesting combinations with existing sub-genres which might keep it fresh and moving. Holy Roar Records is a good place to continue this discussion; they’ve almost made it their specialty to sign artists from this milieu, drawing vast synonyms between the label and the sounds associated with post-hardcore. Naturally, you find some dross but most of what Holy Roar signs has interesting things to say about post-hardcore. Take Earth Moves for example. Their sadly overlooked release from 2016, The Truth in Our Bodies, is a fragile, honest and powerful album, blending post-hardcore vocals, doom instruments and post rock compositions. This amalgam creates both a sound unique to Earth Moves and a chilling sojourn in a stark place for the listener, populated with the band’s own psychodrama.
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“House of Flowers” is a great example of all of this and one of the most incredible tracks I’ve heard in years. It starts off bare, evoking the sparse landscape of the album’s cover art. The vocals are shrill, raw and open, bleeding their sound on top of the lonesome guitars. The middle of the track is a thick, boisterous melange of the above elements and doom instrumentals. Massive guitar chords crash around us as the vocals continue their tirade. The drums thunder and the bass speaks deep, evoking a more post-metal vibe. The end result, regardless of classification is immensely moving but all of it is in service of the ending to the track. The vocals are still within the post-hardcore sphere but deeper now, somehow more reserved yet more moving at the same time. As the guitar punctuates their words, they extol the death of love:
“and something within me says
“this is not you,
this is not what you’re meant to be”
remember that house, remember that smile
faded away, remember your vow
you are not a man, remember now?
and something says “this is not you”
and it’s right”
The rest of the album moves between these tensions, ethereal melody accompanying taut vocals or monumental thunder enveloping the bright lightning of screams. Blastbeats, silence, backing vocals, post-rock tremolo picks and more are all employed in the construction of Earth Moves’ unique signature, a prominent and important contribution to the realms existing between post-metal, post-hardcore and metal. As such, it adds to the prominence of Holy Roar Records in forging these ideas and the spaces which they inhabit within the community, carving out a slice of sound for their own unique timbre. And it’s also a goddamn excellent album which chills me to the core while strangely elevating my spirits.