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Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place CD (album) cover

THE EARTH IS NOT A COLD DEAD PLACE

Explosions In The Sky

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.91 | 187 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' - Explosions In The Sky (9/10)

Years ago, when I was first introducing myself to the realm of post-rock, it was this album that get popping up wherever I went. While the Texas-based instrumental group Explosions In The Sky by no means innovated the atmospheric and textured style we've since come to know as post-rock, I still believe even now that they are the perfect band to get into the style with. Soaring melodies, beautiful texturing and a straightforward, almost poppy style make them a very approachable band, while still maintaining enough beauty and mystique to be worth many listens. The band's third album, poetically titled 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' is no exception to this, and is without a doubt, the band's greatest acheivement to date. In a world that many artists seem to only be able to see bleakness in, Explosions In The Sky give a very optimistic, atmospheric and ethereal insight into life with this near- perfect masterpiece.

Judging by the title alone, one might guess that this isn't going to be an album of dismal nature, but a more upbeat ordeal, a celebration of life even. Through some relatively simple instrumentation, the band tells stories through the atmospheric, clean tones of their guitars. Simply based on the ambiguous song titles, it's up to the listener to weave epic tales of their own while listening to it, giving a very personal experience that lyrics may have otherwise marred. Equipped only with two guitars, a bass, and some very minimalistic percussion, it is really a feat all it's own that the band can make such a deep emotional journey with such little at their disposal. The conventions of post-rock are all here; soaring melodic guitar work, gradual build ups, and extended compositions. It's not the ingredients that make this a special album, it's the way they are put together.

That being said, there are tracks here that are better than others. 'First Breath After Coma' and 'The Only Moment We Were Alone' are both absolutely stunning compositions, and the way they are played makes the songwriting light up. '6 Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean' maintains a very beautiful atmosphere, but it's not quite as memorable as the first two. Then comes 'Memorial' which could be compared to Radiohead at their most ethereal. It is superbly composed, however it has the least emotional pull of any track here, and is therefore my least loved on the album. Lastly comes 'Your Hand In Mine,' which could very well be the perfect closer to such an album. Really, each track on 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' is not easily distinguished on it's own; the music generally carries the same flow and vibe throughout. While that may be a problem on some other albums with the same issue, it only feels natural here, and lets the beautiful joy build to a climax with the last track.

If every track adhered to the same captivating quality with consistency, I would have no problem calling this a 'perfect album.' While it may have some small flaws, there's no denying that while this was the first post-rock album I discovered, it is and will likely long be my favourite of the genre. The earth is indeed neither cold or dead, and it's music like this that really acknowledges that.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |

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