Descent to the Zenith
Over the years Earth has been a pioneer of the drone/doom genre, and with each new release they've been shifting their sound again and again. Although I jumped on the bandwagon pretty late with these guys, their newest effort, Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1, should undoubtedly please followers of the prolific act. The repetitive and dreamlike trance that characterizes the entire album isn't nessacerily my preferred listening style, though it's hard to deny quality like this. Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 isn't a flawless album, but it's many positive traits make up for most of the drawbacks. Fans of the much heralded The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull will definitely want to check out Earth's latest opus sooner rather than later. This is a difficult album to approach, and not essential for casual Earth listeners, but it's certainly a unique experience that I've enjoyed taking part of.
Although Earth is often considered a metal band, there are absolutely no traces of metal on Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1. The music here is a repetitive, yet still complex, mix of instrumental blues, post rock, avant garde, and jazz improvisation put into a drone-sounding melting pot. Although not my favorite genre of music, this is a unique, one-of-a-kind album that transports you into another world. My biggest complaint here is that there is a bit too much repetition, almost to the point where I completely lose interest. A good 15-20 minutes could've easily been cut off the album, especially from the closing title track, which, at over 20 minutes in length, is way too long for music this repetitive and dreary. There are some great songs here, however, that definitely boost my enjoyment factor. Songs like "Old Black", "Father Midnight", and "Hell's Winter" are all great, if a tad monotonous. The compositional aspect here relies heavily on repetition and simplicity, but it is often effective and enjoyable. The musicianship and production are both highlights of the album; both are professional and very well-done.
Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 isn't an album that I'll put on often, but there's enough quality music here to satisfy fans of Earth and their ever-evolving sound. This is a good album to listen to with the lights off and volume set high. It's not something you can absorb in a casual listening session, nor is it something that's easy to grasp on first spin, but it can prove to be a rewarding experience in the end. 3.5 stars are well deserved for another high-quality release by Earth. If my personal tastes trended more towards the style of music presented here, I could definitely see myself going with a higher rating.
1. Old Black
2. Father Midnight
3. Descent to the Zenith
4. Hell's Winter
5. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1