Explosions in the Sky
- The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
Released in 2003 off of Temporary Residence Records
Christopher Hrasky - Percussion/Drums
Michael James - Bass
Mark Smith - Guitar
Manuf Rayani - Guitar
Explosions in the Sky
is one of the many rising bands in today's post-rock scene. Originally from Austin Texas, Explosions in the Sky is known for creating non-lyrical melodies that soar and swagger. Unlike their sophomore album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
, The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
is comprised less of ear-bashing distortion and more of complex, yet simple, clean guitar work. This brought the band's sound away from the harsh, deafening and ultimately searing sounds of Those Who Tell the Truth...
to a more elegant, uplifting soundscape.
First Breath After Coma - 9:33
One look at the title of this track and the length makes the first-time listener weary of what they are about to listen to. But once the song's underway, the listener gets caught up in the magic and beauty of EitS' music.
The track begins with a note quitely ringing out and a steady heartbeat building up. Then the bass and other guitar kick in. This song is supposedly about a man waking after a coma, remembering his first love and then once again submitting to fears of the world. The plot can be traced through the music and melodies brought forth by EitS. Stagatto string pluckings and a military style drum beat are heard throughout the middle of the song until the noise ceases and the guitars begin to twinkle (no better word to describe it) in the swarming feeling of hope. This part of the song sounds meloncholy, but it leads into another creschendo of cybals and an echoing guitar that lead into the next track. 4/5
The Only Moment We Were Alone - 10:14
The longest track on the album, but one of my favorites. A superbly constructed musical composition, the track takes over where the first one left off. A simple bass drum keeps the beat for a bit while the two guitars work their magic. Skipping dostortion altogether, the clean guitars add a sense of hope and renewal as the climb up and fall back down. Its amazing how the melody can change so many times in a song, yet it all somehow fits together and builds into something more than extravagant. Perhaps one of the more thought-out pieces made by EitS, this track sweeps and soars to new heights i never thought imaginable. 4.5/5
6 Days At the Bottom Of the Ocean - 8:43
Supposedly, this track is about the 'Kursk,' a Russian nuclear submarine that sank to the ocean floor due to an explosion, killing all 118 of the men on board. They died either from the initial explosion, carbon monoxide or drowning. Beginning with a high-pitched noise, the song quickly shifts into one of their more known gears: sorrow. The guitar reveals feelings of destitution and hopelessness. The atomsphere expands and sways. Then suddenly, the drums kick in and the original themes of hope are actively sought out by the band. The repetitive nature of the guitar melodies scorch the feeling into the listeners mind and ears. Out of nowhere, the noise stops and there is a solitary guitar gleaming over a barren space. Another guitar comes in and build upon the melody and both guitars compliment each other beautifully. A bass drum thunders in the background and the music takes on feeling of anxiousness. The tension builds and builds but never quite reaches that apex that EitS is known for. 4.5/5
Memorial - 8:50
One of the catchier bits on the album, Memorial
begins with rising and falling guitar and bass, almost resembling a merry-go-round tune. Organ sounds back this up perfectly. The instruments progress, build and compliment each other. Finally, the drums kick in and a catchy melody is revealed. A small sonic explosion comes after this, but then settles back down to another guitar riff. A somewhat playful feeling is given off by this progression. Finally, the usual post-rock formula comes into effect when ther noise fades a little, only to explode with a deafening amount of distortion and dissonance. Guitars screech and wail to the rumbling of the drums until the locomotive runs out of steam and retreats back downwards. 3.5/5
Your Hand In Mine - 8:17
If i could hear one song for the rest of my life, it would surely be this one right here. A gorgeous-sounding guitar riff begins the track. Guitar slides move up and down the frets to capture the essense of beauty. The percussion then swoops in and marches along military-style until it all falls back down again. The same guitar starts back up and is joined by the other and the bass. Anticipation would be the word to describe whats going on here. I dont where its going, but its going somewhere great. The guitars change their melody and the drums join along side them. The march continues on. It rolls along and pulls the listener in deeper toward the feelings the band is trying to provoke.
The drums collapse and the guitars and bass quietly and modestly take over. The music quietly shifts and progresses to an undescribable shower of guitar licks and even without the usual explosion at the end, the song leaves its mark on the listener. 5/5
Explosions in the Sky
demonstrate with The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
that feelings and emotions can be provoked not with ear-crushing, chaotic noise, but with simple melodies driven by simple percussion. This album can almost be described as minimalist; not too many effects and the use of only 4 instruments (for the most part). The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
is a reminder that....well...the Earth indeed isn't a cold, dead place.
I give this album a 4/5