Explosions in the Sky
The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place


5.0
classic

Review

by minty901 USER (9 Reviews)
December 28th, 2011 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The greatest story never told.

Previous to the release of the Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place, Explosions in the Sky were an instrumental rock band that created sweet melodies and crushing rock outbursts. This is still the case, but with their third release they became so much more.

The Earth... contains five tracks that each last for over eight minutes, but that's not important, for once the first crescendo looms in First Breath After Coma, all structures and contrivences are forgotten. It's difficult to imagine four band members together discussing and constructing each guitar melody, each drum beat and each climb when preparing this album. The reason for this is the organic pace journeyed in the music, such that it appears to have exuded from one poet's emotional depths. Many excellent instrumental post-rock bands (and Explosions in the Sky themselves in more recent instances) repeat beautiful musical motifs before launching into new rhythms or dynamic climaxes, all with the intent of keeping the listener enthralled and entertained; it is carefully calculated. The Earth... is a musical score that doesn't feel like it ever had a creator, it simply feels. This is not to say that all other albums are just works of marketing prowes -- although that may have become the case in the aftermath of this album's popularity -- it is just that no other album quite hits your emotional G-spot for 45 minutes straight like this one (Mono's Hymn to the Immortal Wind might come close). Not only is The Earth... an organic portrait of a band's most heartfelt emotions; it can also become the soundtrack to your emotions, if you let it.

Explosions in the Sky play narrative music -- the aura shifts and weaves dynamically throughout the course of each song, as well as the album overall, like classical music for modern generations. In this album there are no words, and there is no film to overlay the soundtrack (check out the Friday Night Lights OST for that -- also brilliant); instead storylines are painted in the ever-changing tone of the music. When in a relaxed and lesser-conscious state, the mind may wander into dream-like territory, creating its own stories and journeys from raw emotion. For this, The Earth... is a most potent catalyst. Each listen to the The Earth... conjures new stories and emotions from within, and that's something really unique.

Despite its power, the music here is actually very simple. The entirity of The Earth... is comprised of basic electric guitars and drums, and there are no unusual or creative production techniques on display. As a result, this album is not exactly a demonstration of musical talent or engineering competence, however every noted that is played is done so with perfection. The guitars hit their highs and lows at just the right time, and the music shows restraint for just long enough such that you feel the anticipation in your gut but are never consciously aware of it. At no point during this album do Explosions in the Sky give you a moment of pause to think about what you're experiencing or predict what's to come. When listening to this album your mind will wander to realms it's never explored, and it's something you can't control.



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user ratings (2144)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
minty901
December 28th 2011


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Only my third review, bear in mind. I felt this album needed more positive reviews as it deserves it. I guess this review is quite personal to how I experience the album, and maybe not all that "objective", but then why would I review an album based on other people's opinions.

carouse
December 28th 2011


302 Comments


This album is fairly solid ("Your Hand In Mine" is heads above other tracks) but this style has gotten stale in
general. Compared to the ilk that this album spawned Explosions is great; but compared to the myriad of more
competent post-rock acts they're probably average at best.

Either way, the review is fine! Nice job.

jefflebowski
December 28th 2011


8253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review, though I feel you could have expanded on your arguments a bit more.

first breath after coma was the song that got me into post-rock

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2011


17222 Comments


love this album

minty901
December 28th 2011


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys. I'd have liked to have expanded my arguments more, but it's so hard to put it into words when an album does so much to you emotionally, without it ever being specific qualities you like or dislike.

BigHans
December 28th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your Hand in Mine is just Godly.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
December 28th 2011


50500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This would be a 4.5 if tracks 3 and 4 were better

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 28th 2011


8868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

1 and 5 are great, 2 3 and 4 are just pretty bleh :[

minty901
December 28th 2011


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't feel I could criticise individual tracks as it's like one beast, like scenes in a film. I suppose if I was going to pick high points it would be tracks 1 and 2. Tracks 3 and 4 are still amazing but they meander a little more. Your Hand in Mine is great but it feels more like an epilogue tacked on the end -- it doesn't flow like the others.

BigHans
December 28th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fade

SpritzSpritz
December 28th 2011


528 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album changed my whole view of music and will thus have a special place in my musical heart.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 28th 2011


8868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

first post-rock album i tried 5/5 forever

dammets
December 28th 2011


2035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album. First Breath After Coma is my favorite

ZilbelPing
December 28th 2011


6160 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album. The only track I feel is filler is Memorial but even that track gets love from me.

bonus
December 28th 2011


47 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. Need to check this one out.

IAmKickass
December 28th 2011


840 Comments


'Your Hand is Mine' has always been a great fall asleep too song.

Piglet
December 28th 2011


4659 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"it is just that no other album quite hits your emotional G-spot for 45 minutes straight like this one"

sounds like you need to listen to some more albums

amanwithahammer
December 28th 2011


497 Comments


yeah honestly don't get what makes this considered a classic so often

minty901
December 28th 2011


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"sounds like you need to listen to some more albums"

I don't think that's the case. In this genre in particular I've listened to practically all of the
most highly acclaimed albums. This album works for me on a different level to everything else. Of
course this review is very personal but no word of it is a lie. One way it differentiates itself
from a lot of post-rock is that there are multiple guitars doing their own melodies on top of each
other, and they keep changing at different times. There's no repetition of a single melody. This is
where Take Care went wrong -- most of the album is made up of a single, repeated melody, followed by
a different repeated melody for 45 minutes. The Earth... is one of the most layered and dynamic
post-rock albums I feel. Godspeed is similar in that respect, but I find their albums aren't as
cohesive. They're great but a lot of their music is separated into discrete movements.

minty901
April 11th 2012


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

spun this again last night. lights off, decent headphones, full volume. really noticed how great the soundstage is on this album. if i could give this 6.0 i'd still be underrating it. this is twice as good as any other album i've ever heard.



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