Saturday, January 29, 2011

Earth-Angels of darkness, demons of light

Southern Lord

Masters of drone Earth return to do what they do best which is to slowly drag us down into their world of agonizing slow yet masterful sounds. It's a world where repetition is king and flash is non-existent yet they crank out this kind of sludge as well if not better than anyone else going today. Opener "Old Black" is guided by bitter twangy riffs as I imagine a dying balladeer trying to squeeze all he can out of his instrument and attempting to pull as much as he can out of each note as if it would be his last. Next up is "Father midnight" which is even longer and yes even slower. This song makes great use of echoes and each note is held tight squeezing every last millisecond out before plucking another. The drums chime in with simple yet hauntingly effective beats. This is a song that will make you want to lay back and be absorbed by the sounds. "Descent to the zenith" is a warmer track with some actual melodies strung together although they are still dark and strike a chord deep within as you undoubtedly be sucked in by the craftsmanship of this track. "Hell's winter" is subtle by Earth's standards and it almost hits so low that it's very below the surface. So you really have to focus in because they are not just serving this up in a nice neat platter to put in front of you. This is a shadowy march like a person going off to meet their maker. It's sad yet you can't help but follow along. The absolutely massive twenty plus minute long title track closes the album. The song is full of thick notes that echo throughout your body. Much of the music has such a shaky quality to it that you feel like everything around you is twisted and warped. I suspect this is the effect they were aiming for. It feels like trying to wake from a strange dream because you know you should yet you struggle because part of you wants to stay and find out the end. The track keeps going on down a desolate path because all of the music gives off the feeling of being enveloped by every ounce of music being churned out. At the end of this album I felt both drained and thrilled. This is a truly brilliant effort. Not an album that everyone will enjoy, but if you do enjoy it then you will certainly want to listen to it in it's entirety over and over to get the full effect.

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Blogger The Klepto said...

I'm no drone fan by any means, but I did find this album oddly comforting. I put it on after having a shitty day at work, and it calmed me down as much as any of my other music would (usually simple piano/guitar music). I couldn't imagine paying to see them live or even really for the album itself, but for the occasional zone-out-background-noise, it was quite fitting.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I have it on disc and ready to go, can't wait. Dylan's the nicest guy and I'm happy he's gained so much respect. Great interview and gave me a free Earth shirt when I saw them on the Hex tour. I was getting pissed at the mean press he was getting before Hex came along.

5:23 PM  

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