Review Summary: It sounds like the cover.
When it comes to drone music, it would be a sin to leave Earth out of the conversation. I think it would be safe to say that had they only put out their debut, Earth 2
, and dissolved suddenly, they would still be considered pioneers of their genre. Of course, Carlson and co. kept experimenting with results that were always at the very least, interesting. They had the raw drones of their debut, the metal-leaning Phase 3
, the pure stoner metal Pentastar
, and the country-leaning drones of Hex
. But lately, they’ve seemed to be getting quieter and quieter with each release, almost invoking the ambience of Brian Eno without the fuzz. The Angels of Darkness
albums are prime examples of this newfound feel, and they’ve definitely proven that there are many different ways to craft drone music. Those two records made anticipation for this record rather interesting, since the new Earth is much different than the old Earth. But, our calls for another masterpiece of drone were answered.
Dylan Carlson has always called Earth’s music ambient metal, and Primitive and Deadly
is probably the best example of this he has done yet. While it definitely culminates every release they’ve done, there is a new atmosphere that Earth had yet to achieve up to this point. The biggest difference between this and their past releases would definitely lie in the more traditional structures that they’ve never really used before. The drones still seem to form into melodies overtime, but they are easily at their most dissonant since Earth 2
. They definitely recall the gloominess of Black Sabbath, but at the same time the way they execute the atmosphere is completely different than anything Sabbath ever did. On “There Is a Serpent Coming” for instance, the whole song has a surprisingly poppy structure for Earth complete with choruses, verses, an intro, and Mark Lanegan’s vocals that bring back the atmosphere of a western storyteller. If you ever thought Earth couldn’t write a more traditional drone-rock type song, this album will prove you wrong.
Truthfully, this is the best reunion album Earth have done so far. They sound completely comfortable with their sound at this point, but they are still evolving at a rapid rate. By culminating all of their releases into one, whilst pushing the boundaries of what a drone band can do, they’ve simultaneously crafted their most satisfying work yet. The repetition is always going to turn people off that simply don’t understand drone or ambient music, but this is the closest since Pentastar
that they have come to writing straightforward metal. But, even with the more traditional song structures, this is still quite similar to their other reunion releases. Don’t expect another Angels of Darkness
though, Earth are yet again entering a new chapter.