Normally, when listening to Earth, I grip the edges of my chair and prepare for a oncoming storm of darkness. Oddly enough, however, this new album has left me feeling positive, and refreshed; not emotions I would normally attach to Dylan Carlson’s compositions. Saying that, most of the troupes one has come to expect from an Earth album are all there – The ‘Deadman’ style guitar, the slow arrangements- this time though, the band seem to be adding a new tone of warmth to their sound.
These changes could be attached to some renovations ‘in-house’ with Earth. A new lineup, including the Cellist from Nirvana (Lori Goldston), and a return to the seminal ‘Earth-2’ producer Stuart Hallerman (Mudhoney, Unwound et al) are a welcome change, that seem to have perfectly complimented a now very well-matured Earth.
‘Father Midnight’ and ‘Hell’s Winter’ wander in familiar territory, but tracks like ‘Descent to the Zenith’ explore more subtle composition, retaining the slow punctuated drums, but exploring more melodic structure, with Goldston’s cello adding a woeful, but simultaneous beauty.
This is Earth exploring new ground, and returning to the studio with a more positive attitude. Though that may sound like a worrying definition to long-time followers of the band, I think it’s a welcome change, that doesn’t detract from the Earth Oeuvre in anyway.