Recorded during the same sessions as last years ‘Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1’ and, logically featuring the same line-up of founder member Dylan Carlson on guitar, longterm accomplice Adrienne Davies on drums, ‘Nirvana Unplugged’ alumni Lori Goldston on cello and Karl Blau on bass, this lengthy instrumental album makes for a solid thematic and musical continuation of the earlier installment.
For fans of old, however, perhaps expecting a taste of the post-Sabbath deathly sludge of the Slim Moon/Greg Babior lineup days, there will be some disappointment. This is not the Earth of endless, droning, devilish apocalypse music as on their hugely influential ‘Earth 2’ album – an album of such relentless, heavy blankets of darkness that it inspired the careers of Sunn O))) and their ilk, assuring that every ATP festival will have at least a few hours of ominous drone on its stages and that every music fan has a place to turn when on the hunt for something to make them feel like they are face down in the abyss.
This is a collection of long – obviously, repetitive – evidently, slow – how could they not be, sound landscapes that err toward the meandering rather than the oppressive.
From opener ‘Sigil Of Brass’ we seem to be hearing Earth at their most relaxed, least violent, possibly most accessible – as a memorable descending guitar line is picked out at slowing speeds, Carlson’s backers add their heat to proceedings in dashes and daubs, an impressionistic musical portrait.The snakey slither of ‘His Teeth Did Brightly Shine’ builds from an almost non-existent riff to a full bodied, ominous drawl before ever so slowly collapsing in on itself and leading us to album highlight ‘Multiplicity Of Doors’ which hints at early Red House Painters and other slowcore bands of the early 90s, all teary-eyed with low cello, death drums and wandering, falling lead lines.
This is not all necessarily compulsive or captivating stuff. The musicians too often fill space where silence would have done as good a job, the length of the tracks themselves speak of indulgence rather than any kind of necessity and the sheer similarity of the songs musically will drag some into boredom rather than any more potent emotional state.
However, as always with Earth, there is hypnotism to be had, moments of magic to be ensconced in and still that abyss, however it is currently represented, to gaze into, black-eyed.