Fresh off a short UK tour with rising formidable heavy weights Conjurer and LLNN, Earth Moves are back with a gripping and powerful sophomore release of emotive post-metal, Human Intricacy. Their debut The Truth In Our Bodies caught my attention in 2016, ranking among my top albums of that year. Earth Moves have not wavered with this release, building on everything it did well. Post-metal is a genre that can be fairly hit-and-miss from person to person, as it’s a genre that has grown to be sufficiently open-ended while employing a broad range of vocals and outside influences. Earth Moves should be recognized in the upper echelon of said genre due to their contrasting ability to emulate those outside genres, namely screamo, melodic hardcore, shoegaze and black metal.
Human Intricacy is one of the most emotional metal albums of the year, with a vulnerability that’s often lacking in post-metal. You can hear the gut-wrenching grief and pain in his voice, which when paired with the slow churning riffs and suffocating atmosphere create one of the heaviest hitting releases of the year. The reoccurring contrast of these moments of emotional desperation, with cathartic lash outs of aggression and blast beats rival Rolo Tomassi’s mastering of this. Like Rolo or their mates Employed to Serve, they can also throw in a bit of fun. “Genic” bursts out with nu-metal inspired metalcore riff which contrasts further from the unregulated gloom.
The vocals themselves might be a make or break for some listeners, the sense of desperation in the emotional outpouring of his screamo (“skramz”) influenced vocals in metal may not be for everyone. Not that they’re a higher-pitched post-hardcore style, but there’s certainly a dash of angst to his style of fluctuating screams with semi-spoken word lyricism. Vocalist Jordan in an earlier interview with the UK blog Dead Press expressed that much of the album has to deal with personal struggles and challenges, but much of it is intentionally ambiguous and meant to be open to the listener’s interpretation. Their first single, “Into the Ether” which displays their closest thing thus far to what could be described as a metalcore chorus deals with the haunting presence that holding onto the past can have on you, represented quite literally in their music video by a ghost-like figure.
The close-knit heavy post- community in the UK comes together on “Catatonic”, which is really the opposite of that title. Here, Joe Clayton of Pijn /Curse These Metal Hands provides powerful guest vocals, with Dan of Conjurer/CTMH taking on those duties live. The album closer “Embody” is perhaps the most “post-rock” track on the album, with an all instrumental first five minutes. Heavily Slowdive influenced shoegaze riffs drive a rising marching drum intro. After a brief build up, it collapses back into this absolutely brooding slow doom metal riff that can linger in your head for days that the band coined as “the money riff.”
Human Intricacy is a must listen for fans of emotionally honest and earnest post-metal that comes off as a very personal album for the band. Earth Moves recognizes that their own intricacies are complex pieces of experiences and influences. They portray that through music by letting those influences shine through together. The nostalgia and yearning of shoegaze and post-rock, the angst and torment of screamo, to the brooding ambiance of black metal – it’s all here in one tightly-knit and well produced album. Out now on Truthseeker Music (UK) and Through Love Records (DE).