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ANGELS OF DARKNESS, DEMONS OF LIGHT 1

Earth

Experimental/Post Metal


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J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Descent to the Zenith

Over the years Earth has been a pioneer of the drone/doom genre, and with each new release they've been shifting their sound again and again. Although I jumped on the bandwagon pretty late with these guys, their newest effort, Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1, should undoubtedly please followers of the prolific act. The repetitive and dreamlike trance that characterizes the entire album isn't nessacerily my preferred listening style, though it's hard to deny quality like this. Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 isn't a flawless album, but it's many positive traits make up for most of the drawbacks. Fans of the much heralded The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull will definitely want to check out Earth's latest opus sooner rather than later. This is a difficult album to approach, and not essential for casual Earth listeners, but it's certainly a unique experience that I've enjoyed taking part of.

Although Earth is often considered a metal band, there are absolutely no traces of metal on Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1. The music here is a repetitive, yet still complex, mix of instrumental blues, post rock, avant garde, and jazz improvisation put into a drone-sounding melting pot. Although not my favorite genre of music, this is a unique, one-of-a-kind album that transports you into another world. My biggest complaint here is that there is a bit too much repetition, almost to the point where I completely lose interest. A good 15-20 minutes could've easily been cut off the album, especially from the closing title track, which, at over 20 minutes in length, is way too long for music this repetitive and dreary. There are some great songs here, however, that definitely boost my enjoyment factor. Songs like "Old Black", "Father Midnight", and "Hell's Winter" are all great, if a tad monotonous. The compositional aspect here relies heavily on repetition and simplicity, but it is often effective and enjoyable. The musicianship and production are both highlights of the album; both are professional and very well-done.

Conclusion:

Angels of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 isn't an album that I'll put on often, but there's enough quality music here to satisfy fans of Earth and their ever-evolving sound. This is a good album to listen to with the lights off and volume set high. It's not something you can absorb in a casual listening session, nor is it something that's easy to grasp on first spin, but it can prove to be a rewarding experience in the end. 3.5 stars are well deserved for another high-quality release by Earth. If my personal tastes trended more towards the style of music presented here, I could definitely see myself going with a higher rating.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#377802)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I' - Earth (6/10)

A metal band with a characteristically un-metal sound, it can be swiftly agreed upon that the American drone music ensemble known as Earth has made quite a shift in their sound over the years. From their early days as pioneers of the burgeoning drone metal scene, Earth has now gravitated towards a more cinematic, psychedelic sound, which some might even liken to post-rock. With Earth's latest output, the band makes little change in their overall sound from the previous album, so while fans of the band can expect no derivation from the existing course, 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light' maintains the quality of their minimalistic, atmospheric drone, although the stylistic repetition and consistently relaxed nature of the album will no doubt lead to some listeners zoning out before long.

True to the title, 'Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light' deals with parallels; opposites. Despite a generally relaxed, chilled sound to the album that runs throughout the hour or so of music here, Earth does it in such a way that there is always a slightly unsettling, lingering element to the sound. A pleasant groove may be followed along, and suddenly it will meet a strange chord change, a chilling moment of guitar feedback, or added flourish that gives the experience quite a bit more than merely listening to the same repetition over again, as many might think when first hearing the band. It is through this that the album becomes very listenable throughout, although it's true that the album does wear thin after about halfway through. While the first couple of songs are quite interesting and still sound fresh, the album generally starts to lose its steam as the songs get longer. This culminates in the closing title track, which is far too listless and long, ultimately feeling as if it ends the album on a very weak point, and could have been left off of the album entirely.

From the first song (and highlight) 'Old Black' onwards, Earth does not stray far from their granted course; even two minutes in, the listener will know what to expect for the next fifty- eight. Slightly distorted guitars slowly and carefully craft textured riffs that really know how to build well, overtop very relaxed and minimalistic drum work. Throughout much of the album, the use of cello is heavily used to add an extra layer to the sound, an element that Earth hasn't used so generously before this. The sum of the parts ends up sounding like a cinematic soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic Old Western.

Earth may do what they do to perfection, but it's the lack of variety that really does the album in. While it may be the perfect piece of music to crowd around the bong with, a more intent listen goes the show that it is about twice as long as it should be. A relaxing journey this is indeed, but if Earth insists of making a long album, they must warrant it through the music.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#395639)
Posted Sunday, February 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have thoroughly enjoyed this slab of prime doom and gloom mood music, Absolutely desolate, churning Blues doom, the 20 minute ending track reminds me of the doors track, The end. kept wishing Jim would pop in for a visit, I have been investigating more of this genre of music, The post rock Doom sound, Slow as a glacier, but heavy, and flowing. I never seem to wish for speed. I indeed Do find the best of this style very stirring. and never boring. this album is one of the best I have heard. and not a synthesizer to be found. How about that. easily 5 stars in my book. I understand the 90's stuff from this band is really different and even Heavier.

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Send comments to darkprinceofjazz (BETA) | Report this review (#411622)
Posted Saturday, March 05, 2011 | Review Permalink

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