Earth, worshipers of all things slow and the band responsible for Sunn O))), are releasing their new record - it's called, with amazing precision, 'Primitive and Deadly'. It's their fifth release for Southern Lord, and continues their ascent into focusing on building subtle arrangements around the focal point of Dylan Carlson's guitar work. On 'Primitive and Deadly' Earth welcome some guests into their doomy mists, the record featuring vocals from Screaming Trees' fellow Mark Lanegan as well as Rabi Shaheen Qazi. There's also bass work courtesy of Sunn O))) collaborator Bill Herzog.
Tracks:Torn By The Fox of the Crescent Moon There Is A Serpent Coming From The Zodiacal Light Even Hell Has Its Heroes Rooks Across The Gate Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon There Is a Serpent Coming From The Zodiacal Light Even Hell Has Its Heroes Rooks Across The Gate Badgers Bane
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Earth have billed 'Primitive and Deadly' as their rock record, which actually sounds like the premise for an episode of a hit sitcom in which the drone band lives across the corridor from Sunn O))): Earth tries to make normal rock music, with hilarious results (and maybe a side-plot about Stephen O'Malley leaving his cape on the bus). Not really knowing what it is to do things deemed ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’, the record is possibly their most collaborative yet, involving a revolving door of guest players who actually know things about guitars and singing: Built to Spill bassist Brett Nelson appears, as does Sunn-affiliated Ben Herzog and Mark fucking Lanegan, whose gravelly voice suits drone metal pretty snugly.
Inevitably, the rock boast is something of a gimmick. If 'Primitive and Deadly' does anything, it's continue the slow and steady progress Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davies have been making towards a type of drone music conjured entirely through metallic guitar riffs and sly, pounding drums -- basically, they're gonna be pretty bummed when they realise doom metal exists. The vocals offered by Lanegan are a fascinating development, not because they help straighten out Earth's experiments into songs proper, but because Earth disregard him: they continue to let their hypnotic and slowly ascending guitars interlock with Davies’ thick drumming, as if they’re building more landscape for Lanegan to climb, rather than giving him songs to sing.
As always, ‘Primitive and Deadly’ is an unwaveringly precise record of droning metal, as tight as the ‘Angels of Darkness’ records, but with the appearance of vocals, it feels like more than just a pretty picture. This record is beautiful because you feel like it was made by people, rather than particles of evil wearing Metallica shirts. “From the Zodiacal Light”, the record’s centrepiece, is proof of that, weaving startlingly pretty riffs around the clean vocals of Rabia Shaheen Qazi, both combining endlessly. It gives you the sense that this Earth wasteland has people filling it in. It’s not rock music, but they did try, and it’s the first Earth record where I feel I can say this: bless them.
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