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Explosions In The Sky - Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever CD (album) cover


Explosions In The Sky


Post Rock/Math rock

3.43 | 74 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Their 2001 album wasn't the first by Explosions in the Sky. But I'm willing to bet they wish it had been, in retrospect. After an underwhelming debut the year before, the Austin quartet rebooted their career and inaugurated the new millennium by doing something more than simply recording and packaging another album. They succeeded in creating a lasting mystique for themselves, in the evocative Angel of Mons artwork and in the radiance of the music itself suggesting ideas of redemption, transcendence, and prophetic vision...classic Prog, in other words, despite the usual Post Rock trappings.

The aesthetic was inspired in large part by the films and philosophy of (kindred Texan) Terrence Malick, showing a similar deep reverence for natural beauty, inner truth, and a spiritual harmony far above and way beyond the petty metaphysical straightjacket of religion. The CD booklet includes a quote from Sean Penn's world-weary Sgt. Welsh in Malick's 1998 masterpiece "The Thin Red Line" ("...there ain't no world but this one"). And the filmmaker's influence becomes explicit in the song "Have You Passed Through This Night", with its awkward appropriation of a key voice-over monologue from the same movie (which already had its own emotive soundtrack, and didn't need any extra help).

That's a lot of thematic freight for one fifty-minute album of instrumental music to carry...even when divided into complimentary halves, corresponding (in vinyl terms) to Sides One and Two but here named "Die" and "Live Forever" (I doubt either was intended literally, or in a trite Born Again sense). Considering the band's uncertain track record at the time it may have been too much baggage, a little too soon. But they were learning on the job how to be more patient, in both composition and performance, slowly building their own wide-screen musical language using only electric guitars and very loud drums.

Later albums would articulate the band's collective vision better. The vernacular here was still a bit crude (Christopher Hrasky's cymbal-abuse borders on sadism). But this was where EitS found its voice. And that discovery might have been expressed in the unspoken reflections of another Malick voice-over, heard on an outbound troop transport as the battlegrounds of Guadalcanal recede over the South Pacific waves:

Oh, my soul...let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining...

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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