Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
Southern Lord
Doom/Drone Metal
5 songs (60:25)
Release year: 2011
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Jaime
It sounds like The Shadows on valium. That's about as close an approximation to the sound of the opening song Old Black that I can give really. Slow moving, whiskey (with an 'e') drenched Americana that moves with the grace and speed of a funeral march. To add even further to my metaphor: It sounds like The Shadows, stoned on valium, at a funeral in a desert in the deep south. Aye. That's a quote for it. Not only does it sound like that, but you can picture it (the funeral and the desert, imagining Hank Marvin off his rocker on drugs is not something you should think about). The sandy, dryness gives off such a wonderous vibe that works in harmony with the solemn overtones that Earth manage to expertly craft. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I is an album that envelops you with its mournful arms. It's a very emotive record, and if you aren't moved by Old Black's weeping cello and bluesy guitar and bass then you probably don't have a soul. Father Midnight has the guitar sounding slightly more subdued, with the cello seemingly being at the front of the mix but it's used more as an additive measure to accent the nighttime mood while the guitar and bass play off each other beneath it. I found it very easy to put images to the music here, the album practically runs as a score to the slowest paced Western film you'll even see.

The laidback vibe of Descent to The Zenith with it's jazz influenced but at the same time straight forward drums and spacey guitars is sometimes the occasional dissonant guitar harmony but didn't grip me as much as the previous two. There's also a fairly audible cut and drop in from the drums near the end that somewhat shattered the illusion for me. Hell's Winter has some familiar themes from the tracks before it, especially Father Midnight that are reintroduced and stretched out a bit more. The guitars maintain that bluesy sway as they weave in and around everything else as it marches onwards to the finish. The cellos gradually move away from their repeating pattern and expand, slowly as you expect, with the drums remaining a constant, driving everything forward. It does seem a bit too similar however, it's more like a continuation of Father Midnight as opposed to a new standalone song.

Finally there's the title track. The bass is allowed to play by itself, creating a warm cloud of fuzz that the cello drones over until the guitars chime in to create that Western film feel once again. Washes of cymbals and percussion gradually build to the indroduction of the drums as a whole, allowing the track some movement and stability over the introduction's spacey, wandering feel. It's with this that the rhythmic core of the band stands out, after its absence you realise its importance in the music, it's groove that you nod your nead along to. The closer to the end that the song gets, the more the drums diversify giving a slight break in the wall of noise as the cello eases out and some ominous tritones bubble to the surface along side the crescendo of noise and noises that wrap the album up.

What I can really say about Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I? It's a trip for sure (Just ask Hank...) but at times if feels a little laboured. The drop in that you could hear in Descent to The Zenith should not have been there at all, it's just sloppy on the part of whoever produced it. IT seems strange to comment on repetition for a drone band of all things, but the similarities between Father Midnight and Hell's Winter were too great and made me think that the band had ran out of steam after writing the 4 other songs. However, the opening and closing tracks are breathtaking, and despite my complaints Father Midnight and Hell's Winter are both good, even if they're basically both the same. As you can expect, it's slow. Really slow. You need to have patience with it, to sit down and absorb it or it'll be lost on you. It's not perfect, but my word if Old Black isn't the best song I hear this year I'll be greatly surprised.
Killing Songs :
Old Black, Father Midnight, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
Jaime quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Earth that we have reviewed:
Earth - A Bureaucratic Desire For Extra Capsular Extraction reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull reviewed by Charles and quoted 89 / 100
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