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


Explosions In The Sky

Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars Explosions in the Sky prove that you don't need a huge ensemble to create beautiful, epic and uplifting progressive post rock. This is a superb album and very original, leaning more towards the styles of Mogwai than Godspeed You Black Emperor! There are less cliches on this album and it seems a bit more straight forward. No E-bows, looming basslines, obscure effects, titles and vocals etc. that has become post rock fashion. EITS aren't trying to reinvent post rock, they are just playing their own paced, stripped down yet tremendously effective version of post rock.

Each song here is an instrumental that builds up into great climaxes. The moods and emotions of the music seem to tell a story, hinted by the instrumental titles. This is a pretty good starting album for those new to prog rock as it isn't too pretentious and it is shorter than a lot of other post rock albums. Baring this in mind i actually found it more difficult to get into than Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Sigur Ros or A Silver Mt Zion, simply because some of the cliches mentioned earlier are not present on this album.

Overall this is a really beautiful piece of continuos instrumental work that is brilliant just to relax to and feel blown away. "The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place" is a title full of hope and it is reflected in positive aura of the music. Check this out for some wonderful modern prog.

Report this review (#44023)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly a fantastic album, one of the best in my collection. Put this album in your player, turn off the lights, and clear your mind of all thoughts. Pure euphoria.

The music: For the lack of a better term, emo post-rock. Shimmery clean guitars slowly building into a thunderous climax. While each song generally follows a similar format (I believe they are all in 6/8 or 3/4), they never get repetitive or samey. The harmonies between the guitars are excellent, and the subtle, snare drum and crash cymbal plenty drumlines complement them perfectly.

The songtitles, while somewhat cliché, usually fit the music nicely. First Breath After Coma is refreshing and hopeful, The Only Moment We Were Alone is emotional and beautiful (this is one of the best songs I've ever heard. It has actual brought me near to tears on several occasions), Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean is sad and sombre, and so forth.

An exceptional album from start to finish. Defintely a step up from Those Who Tell the Truth...I believe everyone should hear this music, whether you accept as the truly emotional beauty that it is, or as fantastic background music (e.g. my parents).

Report this review (#44051)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before even listening to this album, you can tell that there's something about this band thats very different from other post-rock artists. Just look at the title of the album, "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place". I'm sure if you were to ask Godspeed You! Black Emperor, they would probably tell you that the earth is, in fact, a cold dead place. But not this band.

Thats what makes Explosions in the Sky so enjoyable and refreshing, their music has this optimistic feel to it that seperates it from any other post-rock you might have heard. The band has no radical political affiliations, they don't use voice samples or sound effects on any of the tracks. All you have is four musicians making extremely beautiful atmospheric music.

I was able to appreciate this band a lot more after hearing their music on the movie "Friday Night Lights". I had listened to the band before then, but never in that context. Their music fit so perfectly with the movie, and after listening to this album again, I could understand why. I can easily imagine an adult listening to this album and finding themselves reflecting on their high school glory days.

I'm still a senior in high school, and I never had what you would call "glory days", but when I listen to this album, it still has the power to bring back so many beautiful memories. This is one of the few albums I've listened to that have actually made me cry.

I reccomend this album to anyone, wether your new to post-rock, or are familiar with the genre. Even if you've listened to the other post-rock artists and didn't like them, you should still give this band a try. You won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#53743)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Explosions In The Sky's third album, in my opinion, is one of the most complete albums released in recent times. The whole post rock world contains enough frustration to leave lengthy albums hanging in the middle of nowhere. And with the majority of these modern day progressive acts there has been the tendency to sound alike, in song construction if not exactly content and concept. The strength of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and their towering music was a watershed for this listener and came at a time of a personal musical vacuum, but they could irritate quite easily with the constant reminders of [mainly American] political policy and the global atmosphere resulting from it. And while Godspeed You Black Emperor! layered dark complex lines to forcefully remind us how [%*!#]ed up the world is because of political powers (and Mogwai simply want to bore) Explosions In The Sky create music to remind us how fragile this bloody place truly is. The music on the album is packed with a sympathetic emotion that is at once crushed by an overwhelming sense of anger as the band launch from gentle passages to an all out forced assault, simply to reinforce the tone and to clarify the message. But overall the album is an eye opener, gob smacking, and reveals truly beautiful music with more passion and conviction in all areas whereas the majority on the acts from the same genre leave a cold almost cerebral feeling. As far as I'm concerned this could well be the album of the decade, not that it actually matters too much if it is or is not. Their is a sense of completion all over the concept of The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place and this four piece Texan band execute it with a convicting revealing passion.
Report this review (#55629)
Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is an awesome album, is fantastic, talking about Post - Rock, i have to admit that it is now my favourite album, all the songs and the music is beautiful, when i heard it for first time, my mind was totally clarified, they passed thousands of ideas and thoughts, as if i was in a trip, atrip full of fantasy of tranquility and of an excellent arrangement of guitars, when i hear the first song ( right now im listening to it ) i become into another person, as if truly entered a world aside, that is it escencial of the music, that can transform us and dont show us the exit until the entire album will finish, that´s why im totally happy with this album , and of course i recommend it to everyone who is exploring the Prog Rock, and in specific Post Rock . Pay attention to all the details , is a puzzle and you should not leave that the pieces get lost, bu, enjoy it please.
Report this review (#55671)
Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
5 stars This is an album of pure genius and beauty. Unlike the cold barren feel GYBE! often leaves, this is actually quite optomistic and completly instrumental. For those of you who get bored with prog after the late 70s (and tendency towards pop), post rock is a welcoming change back to epic songs and unique song structures. I would venture to say this is a tad better than GYBE! music and is a good starting point for those new to the post rock sound of the mid 90s on. The amount of sound they create out of 4 instruments is shocking and rivals any four peice band anywhere.
Report this review (#59676)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

One of the things that strikes most when you spin EITS's third album is the general ambiance is sticking a bit too closely to Constellation label's better known groups such as DMST and GYBE! This is not to say that the album is un-enjoyable but it does ruin a bit the feeling of an otherwise excellent album. One of the few things this album has got going for itself is that it sticks more to the music, and does wander in rather strange and out-of-place dialogues, which can become irksome after repeated listenings, which GYBE! has gotten us so used to.

So other than that, the music is really reminiscent of the afore-mentioned Canadian bands but also close to San Fran based Tarentel. This means that guitars are the dominant instruments and that they are at the service of the music instead or rising to prominence and overshadowing the rest of the instruments. The music also lacks the depth or the dynamics of GYBE!'s but then again the Montrealers are nine and these guys are four.

Quite a pleasant album but hardly anything groundbreaking or even innovative - this album comes almost a decade after the first Post Rock masterpieces appeared (Tortoise's debut in 94 and GYBE!'s debut in 96); If you are a newcomer to post rock, this could make an excellent introduction since there are no flaws and the album stays concise enough to avoid lengths. Not wanting to dampen the great reviews elsewhere on this page, if you have been a follower of post rock from the start (Tortoise's debut) - I joined in 98 after GYBE!'s second release - you shall not be so optimistic and enthusiastic about this group who is simply just following the trend without bringing anything new. Just jumping on the bandwagon.

Report this review (#60295)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hold on... don't get mad about the two stars already, I'll try to explain. I had to search deep inside, both intellectually and mentally, to find enough reasons why this album shoud recieve two stars, instead of one. I know this band is one of the new darlings, but just stay with me.

If I wouldn't remind myself, time after time, to give this album another chance in the cd-player I would just forget about it completely (forget that I have bought it and forget that I have ever listened to it). That's how much impression it makes on me. I try to stay focused when listening, but when I look at the time counter on the cd-player I realize that the music has passed me by once again, without any notice. And to me that doesn't make a good album. This anonymity makes it also quite hard to make comments about individual tracks.

I think this album is a rather good representative for the "experimental/post rock", but I won't go into talking too much about this as a genre. I wonder, can you imagine this music go on without change for another five years? I can, and that's what bothers me (I would be glad if I was proved wrong in the next couple of years). This album shows no signs of experimentalism, and these guys don't just play it safe, this album is as stable as a concrete rock. And what I would want it to be is the opposite, that it would be going somewhere, that the album would show signs of curiousity, that it would make a statement, that it would make any difference what so ever during these minutes it's played. But, no. If this album should represent the "new direction" of prog I just can't see the direction in the first place, because this one stands still.

I understand though that one of the intentions with this is to make a "sensitive" or "subtle" impression, but I say that there has to be more to good music than this. I mean, the "subtlety" is usually just one dimension of a good album. The music has to have more depth, more sides to it than only be sensitive in general. If I should explain why the album doesn't do anything for me, probably that is one explanation.

As you may have figured out I wouldn't recommend this album, since it's boring. But I believe that to recieve a single star you have to make an album that's beyond boring, so 2 stars it is.

Report this review (#61180)
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY should be commended on their ability to create compelling, emotional, and powerful post-rock music without relying on the cliches that plague the genre. Listening to The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place is a great pleasure because the album contains the same beauty and feelings conveyed by other bands in the genre, but not the standard characteristics you'd expect. There are no droning bass tones, no electronic voice samples, and nobody playing their guitar with a bow, and that's a very pleasant change in a genre filled with unoriginal copycat bands. This is simply amazing guitar-driven instrumental music that anyone with an ear for beauty and passion should listen to immediately.

The album only contains five songs, but they're all around 10 minutes in length. This may sound like it would get a bit monotonous, but it doesn't, thanks to the band's great compositional skills. The mood changes throughout the record are fantastic, and the music never feels boring or forced. Each song is a new experience, and as a result, no one song stands out above the others as the best. If I had to pick a personal favourite, it would be "First Breath After Coma," but these are all masterpieces.

With The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY prove just how great guitar-based music can sound. Listening to the depth of these songs, it's hard to believe that this band is only a four-piece. Great work from everyone involved, and a great sign for the future of both the band and the genre. Get this album as soon as you can.

Report this review (#63032)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't believe I have ever given five stars to an album before, but I think now I have to do it. Let me explain. This album, in my humble opinion, contains some of the most beautiful, brilliantly dynamic and moving music ever made. I think it is THE album that defines instrumental post-rock. I know they weren't the first to do it, I know it's not the most experimental, but it is the best.

The album begins with some very light and simple guitar harmonies in "First Breath After Coma". The harmonies slowly build, percussion is added, layers multiply, and just when the music seems about to explode, it drops back into silence, only to climb again to an even more intense climax. Considering the title, the music paints a vivid story of a person raised from a coma and slowly returning to life, and he is assured that life is good.

Each epic track on this album paints similar images of musical beauty and power. This music is deep and powerful without ever really being loud or 'in your face'. Every movement is subtle, every note careful, every guitar effect perfectly placed. The use of echoes and delays on the guitars are very nicely tuned, and add a great deal of depth to simple melodies. This album is best listened to when perfectly at peace, so you can let each song take its full effect. Other key tracks include "Six Days at the Bottom", and "Your Hand in Mine", though there are no fillers on this album, just five nuggets of brilliance.

To conclude, This is THE album for anyone who is beginning to explore post-rock. It is a MUST have for all fans of the genre, and highly recommended to all fans of progressive music.

Report this review (#71467)
Posted Thursday, March 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars I think one of the things, and maybe THE thing that makes Explosions in the Sky stand out amongst a host of 'post-rock' bands is their complete reliance on nothing but guitar strings and drums for their sound. Sure, they are in the same genre as bands like Godspeed, Mogwai, Bark Psychosis, and even A Silver Mt. Zion. But those bands all include other percussion, keyboards, horns, and/or vocals. Explosions rely only on a couple of guitars, a bass, and minimal drum work. It's a seductive combination.

The only band I can think of that is so guitar-intensive is California Guitar Trio, and of course that's pretty much all they have. And they are really more virtuoso artsy rock anyway - the two bands could certainly not be mistaken for each other.

There's also the lack of reliance on The Climactic Crescendo ®©T, which with bands like Godspeed actually becomes rather predictable after a while. While I like a good building up to a thunderous finish as much as the next guy, it seems like there should be more to this style of music than just that. Ravel and Debussy pretty much perfected that sound a hundred years ago, and modern 'experimental' music doesn't really reinvent it as much as it simply copies the effect.

Explosions seem to be more about just laying down the notes for the sake of experiencing the journey. I like the way they offset the rather annoying ad nausea repetition of the album's title "Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place" on their album cover with the tiny message on the inside cover - "because you are listening". Nice touch.

This album kind of gets past you when you play it. I guess there are actually five tracks, but this seems to be a rather insignificant piece of information when you experience it. It seems more like a single, contiguous work, which is rather innovative. With Godspeed, each song seems to be all about getting, albeit in an interminably slow pace, to a huge climax and finish, just so the cycle can be repeated on the next song. With Explosions, at least on this album (it's the only thing of their's I've ever heard), each song is a complete and comprehensive work unto itself, not just a prelude to the last thirty seconds or so before they fadeout. This leaves the listener with the impression that this is a much longer, almost thematic body of work, rather than five separate thoughts.

"First Breath After Coma" leads off with a solitary guitar, which eventually is joined by a complementary one. I read somewhere that this is supposed to represent a heartbeat followed by the representation of breathing, or some such crap. I'm not bright enough to make that connection, but I do know what makes my ears happy, and this song does that.

On "The Only Moment We Were Alone", I guess there is maybe supposed to be a symbolic sound of butterflies in the stomach or some such thing. Whatever. Again, I just like the way the music flows along without any particular ambition to bring it to a close. While this is the longest song on the album, I always feel like "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean" seems to go on forever. Maybe it's the fact that this one actually does build to something of a climax, but then manages to find the will to go on for a bit longer instead of collapsing to the bedroom floor and reaching for a cigarette.

"Memorial" begins with one of the most somber and desolate sounding sustained notes I have ever heard, followed by the second guitar with a short sequence that very much reminded me of some of the early chords in "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds". The first time I heard it I expected something totally depressing, or maybe just abstract, but this one actually manages to find it's legs with a rather powerful finish. Not really a building crescendo, more like a statement of fact. I guess this is their version of a tribute to some fallen soldier, or maybe just a guy who found the end of his rope a bit sooner than expected. Don't know, but this is the only song on the album that actually exudes a rather sad emotion.

"Your Hand in Mine" is the only song on the album I was a bit disappointed with, as it seemed more like a rehashing of "First Breath" with a bit of "The Only Moment" thrown in at a couple points in the middle. I didn't really get what this one was trying to express, but maybe I was just trying too hard.

This was my first foray into Explosions in the Sky. Like many people, I first knew of the band from the work they did for 'Friday Night Lights', which I thought was perfect mood music for that film. I was not disappointed and don't at all regret spending the money. In fact, I'm sure I'll buy "How Strange, Innocence" next. I don't suppose this is an essential album, but it sure is a good one, so four stars is a very appropriate rating.


Report this review (#75802)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Sticking to the knitting

There was a gap of a couple of years between the release of "Those who tell the truth.." and this album. During that time the band paid their dues and developed their sound. "The Earth is not a cold dead place" retains the MOGWAI, GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR, and DEATH IN VEGAS similarities, while moving on slightly from their previous release. I say "slightly" because the basic sounds and structures are very much the same. Two lead guitars backed by decent bass lines, but rather clumsy drumming make up the sum total of what is on offer. No vocals, no keyboards, indeed no soloing to speak of, of any description.

The album consists of just five lengthy pieces, all around 8 to 10 minutes long. If you were to hear one of these in isolation, it would be a challenge for most people to identify which of the five it was, such are the similarities between the tracks.

The opening "First Breath After Coma" benefits greatly from coming first. It builds through successive phases, each phase falling back to a soft, ambient melody with mandolin like guitar picking. " The Only Moment We Were Alone" emphasises my previous comment about the drumming. It is just to phonetic at times, as if drummer Christopher Hrasky is trying to play the principal melody, rather than lay the foundations for it. The track has several false endings before a wonderful cacophony of guitars to end.

"Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean" and "Memorial" are comparatively unexciting tracks, although the latter did bring to mind some of PORCUPINE TREE's older material such as "Voyage 34" and "The sky moved sideways".

By the end of "Your Hand in Mine", you're wondering why they bothered to split the album into five tracks at all, especially in view of the fact that they segue together anyway. The end of this track could link into the start of the album quite easily, taking us around again.

Explosions in the Sky deserve credit for resisting the ubiquitous commercial pressures, and sticking to the knitting. They do what they do well, and clearly recognise their own limitations through operating well within their own boundaries. If they are to progress though, they will need to be prepared to push those boundaries, and investigate more divergent sounds. You can after all, only go to the same well so many times, before it runs dry.

Once again, the presentation of the package is let down by poor artwork on the cover. There is little of no band information, with even the track listing being something of a challenge to spot.

Report this review (#76529)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My compliments to Christopher French (previous reviewer) because I couldn't have said it better myself. This is incredibly emotional music! Such uplifting and inspiring songs here! Only two guitarists and a bass player create such astonishing melodies full of love and bliss and everything in between. And of course the drummer plays a very important role here, assisting the band in reaching such gorgeous climaxes. Beautiful. Highly recommended. Just please don't do as I did and judge this album early in your listens. I let this masterpiece sit dormant in my collection for far too long. My regret knows no bounds.
Report this review (#81937)
Posted Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" is a fantastic instrumental album which is almost completely focused on guitars, which are used in weird and wonderful ways. The use of guitars on "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" is phenomenal and the band is able to create lush sound scapes through the combination of these instruments. Yet, they did not over do the guitars, and they are used more as a fill in instrument and than a lead one. The percussion is also very well done on "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" and I think the band were able to use snare drums very well throughout the album, particularly on "The Only Moment We Were alone" and "First Breath After Coma."

There is something that makes this album very unique, but I can't put my finger on it. Anyway it is a very, very good album to listen to. There are no obnoxious or dreadful sounds and all the music flows very well. There is nothing dark or heavy (although there are a few loud sections) about this album which I find very refreshing, I am tired of all modern prog being metal of some kind. Even is there are loud passages they meld well into the context of the song. Post-Rock is a good genre in that respect, it is taking a path away from metal from what I've heard.

Looking at instrumental albums "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" is up with the best in my opinion. It is almost as good as The Snow Goose; both of these albums are experimental and excel in creating beautiful sound scapes. All songs run for a minimum of 8 minutes and a maximum of 10, so the themes are explored thoroughly. The best songs on the album are "Six Days on the Bottom of the Ocean" and "Memorial", though the entire album is very impressive. When I listen to "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" I get images of the sea in my head, which are very pleasant. I have to comment on the cover art of "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place", I like the way the trees on the inside of the CD booklet are green and alive, while the trees on the outside are on fire.

1. First Breath After Coma (4/5) 2. The Only Moment We Were Alone (5/5) 3. Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean (5/5) 4. Memorial (4/5) 5. Your Hand in Mine (4/5) Total=22 divided by 5 (number of Stars) =4.4 = 4 stars excllent adittion to any prog music collection

In the end, how could I not give "The Earth is not a Cold dead" Place at least 4 stars (shamless editing, hahah), it dares (along with many other bands) to challenge both prog and normal music. And of course, it is an amazing album, one of the best I've ever heard. It is, in my opinion the best Post-Rock album I've heard so far (Including Sigur Ros and God Speed You Black Emperor stuff.) Thanks to Dalezilla for the recommendation! I recommend "The Earth is not a Cold dead Place" to Post-Rock fans primarily and to instrumental lovers as well as other prog fans. It is an enjoyable album for all. Also, have you noticed that Post-Rock bands have the longest song and band names?

Report this review (#85156)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It was hard for me to determine if this recording deserved a 4 star rating or a 5 star rating. I've been a prog fan for years but only recently did I get into post-rock material. I started off by listing to Godspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mountain Zion, and Sigur Ros. While impressed a times, I found some of their compositions kind of boring and repetitive after a while. I definitely wouldn't say these bands are "heavy rotation" bands in my music playback lists. But that's where Explosions in the Sky are different to me. I find EitS to be more engaging. They eschew the orchestral intricacies and bombast of GYBE and aSMZ in favor of a more simplified approach. They use just the basic bass, drum, and two guitars to create their sonic landscapes. I think sonic landscapes is an accurate description. Each song feels like a journey full of hope and optimism. If you're a fan of technically difficult musicianship, this probably won't be your ticket. I wouldn't say any of this music is particularly difficult or challenging. However, their songwriting is utterly amazing. As mentioned elsewhere, the songs do flow into each other without great distinction. Then again, this album plays more like a continuous soundtrack than a collection of individual distinct songs. As such, it is a perfect album to just sit back and let your mind wander where it will. Because of the sheer beauty and captivation of the music, I have to give this a 5 star rating because I think this album is one of the best examples of the post- rock genre and a great place for people new to this form of music to get their start. This is the kind of album that would appeal to people that aren't even fans of progressive music. Most highly recommended.
Report this review (#89576)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Sheer boredom. Maybe it's just me, but I think their songs are lacking better development and more interplays, perhaps a few other instruments to deserve to be called prog. As someone mentioned before, they're not outstanding technicians-but that's not the main problem. There's just one huuge lack of imagination. Harmonies could be developed better, solos are missing that fundamental "catchyness", drumming is dull and generally, I got an impression that they sound like R.E.M. trying to make epics. But I think R.E.M. would do it better, with minimalistic touch of mono synths, short, simple-structured but flashy guitars and basic but good drumming...

Now. I know that my brain and taste are hopelessly petrified in 70's symphonic rock, but if you want to experience post-rock go for the excellent GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! or TUATARA. This is so hermetic and floating in the vacuum of musical phrases discovered millions of times before. I got an impression that all the songs are written in the same key. To be very honest, there are a few good moments in the middle of"The Only Moment We're Alone" but they are going nowhere.

I really can't imagine listening to this with your attention set higher than zero. I tried several times and almost fell asleep. I'm really not inquisitive to check out other albums from these guys. The best I can say is try before you buy. Yawn.

Report this review (#95049)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having heard a lot about this album in this site, what I got was a bit disappointing. I haven't listened to the other albums by Explosions In The Sky but I guess this is their best work up to date since it's by far higher rated than the others. Maybe having set high standards with bands like 'Godspeed You Black Emperor!', 'Mogwai' and 'Singur Ros' was also a reason for expecting more from this, but either way the disappointment remains.

'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' was released in 2003 and it's nothing new to the post- rock world. It's just a good album that follows the post-rock standards without adding anything new and thus I can't give more than 3 stars. Like 'mainstream' post-rock, what dominates are the guitars. They are mostly 'softer', playing depressing melodies but when it's needed they become aggressive creating walls of sound. As a result, the dynamics are something I find interesting but it's mostly either one or the other, meaning that it's not a gradual crescendo like for example Mogwai who slowly build the sound until the time you can't add more and then slowly come back. I seem to like more the album's softer parts. There are a few parts that are just amazing like in the first and last song while the others are mostly 'ok'. The more aggressive parts seem to me a bit forced and I really don't like the drums. They are surely not to be compared with Gybe's or Mogwail's but like Sean Trane says in his review this happens because they are only four.

Overall, it's a good album but there is nothing so special about this at all. It may be a good introduction to post-rock for someone but for a Gybe fan it's not more than an average album. That's only my opinion however. What may have happened is that it failed to captivate me for unknown reasons. It may be the album that someone will listen when having hard time in his life. Anyway, it didn't do that 'click' for me. You could try....

Report this review (#96694)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars "The" post-rock album?

Many will point to this album as one of the defining pieces of the genre. While certainly containing all the hallmarks of the genre, I can't help but find it lacking. I never feel "moved" by any of this. It's nice material, yes, but its so un-explorational that I really can't compare it to other works of excellence. It's just too "frank" for me.

The songs themselves more or less sum up the qualities of the genre, with little difference between in each song. The guitars really control the movement of the pieces and shift the scenes of the music quite easily. The music is generally amiable and peaceful sounding, and it is never forced or rushed. The band is patient with the development of the material, making for smooth transitions.

In short, we have a nice, pleasant little album that doesn't push our buttons, but also fails to do much more. If you like the confines of a genre this may be a good album for you, but if you are looking for exploration and creativity look elsewhere.

Report this review (#102064)
Posted Thursday, December 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is among the most emotionally stirring albums I've ever heard.

This is the group's most stripped-down album. While the excellent predecessor "Those Who Tell the Truth..." often used distorted guitars, there are few instances on this record that do, and as before, they keep the tempos pretty slow. The production here is great, providing a nice warm, soothing tone throughout, which is another difference from the earlier works that were characterized by a more rough production. The playing is precise. Each second - the notes, the effects, the dynamics - is meticulously thought out, and to great success. These sounds and atmospheres evoke all of the (assuming so) desired emotions. There is much beauty to be found here. That's what this band is all about. Don't listen expecting aberrant experimentation or a technical flurry; there is absolutely none of that here. What you have is pure post-rock, and pure emotion.

Report this review (#102207)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here's an example of a masterpiece. All the album has excelent cohesion an it's excelently structured without recurring much to the standards.

First breath after coma : This track touched me the first time i listened to it. It's really emotional and does real emphasis in each moment, each silence is worth as a silence, and each (relativity) fast part is worth as what it is. 5 stars.

The Only Moment We Were Alone : It's description wouldn't be very different to the one of the previous track. The main difference is that TOMWWA is more layered and works out more the harmonies. Explosions in the sky accomplish this and makes it another jewel of these record. 5 stars.

Memorial : Memorial does sound like a memorial. It might sound stupid, but it sounds like a song of loss, quite epic (talking about the mood, not the length), melancholic as EITS always was. 4 stars.

Six days at the bottom of the ocean : This track is clearly divided into two. a very long but intresting spacey section, and a fast and awaken section. Both are good, but this track is clearly the less inspired.

Your hand in mine : Fantastic closure for this excelent album. As the second track, it's quite layered and makes a really good effect. Beautifull song. 4.5 stars.

5+5+4+3+4.5 / 5 = 4.3

I'll rate it 4 stars although 5 stars wouldn't be ridiculus.

Report this review (#103889)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Less then ordinary!

Let me briefly describe my musical inclination so that the reader can place my comments on an appropriate background. Over 70% of all music I enjoy can be categorized as RIO/Avant and Experimental/Post rock genres. As is apparent from the number of stars I gave to this CD, my dislike of this CD is not because I am unfamiliar with this genre or specially dislike the style. Explosions In the Sky simply does not measure up, add anything new, or provide an experimentation in an interesting direction. "The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place" is an uninspired regurgitation of what has been done before.

All compositions on the CD are completely indistinguishable from each other. I fail to see why any one would bother naming such compositions.

The sound palette is very simple and the texture is lacking detail. Hence the resultant music is unable to sustain focused interest of the listener. They follow the path blazed by Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai among others. But their output is a pale, simplistic re-interpretation of the original. To me a good Post Rock composition creates strong imagery and then takes you along a journey on this imaginary landscape. Maybe a musical version of a good science fiction novel.

Listening to this album creates in my mind an image of dead fish thrown on a table. Image is static. It not only is unappealing, it does not move and evolve. Yes from a distance it looks like a fish but it is lifeless and has a funny smell.

Explosions in the sky!!! To me a musical explosion is another term for rapture. Sadly "Earth is a cold dead place" has no explosions in it. I could not recommend this album to anyone.

Report this review (#104276)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Possibly my favorite post-rock album and one of my favorite instrumental records ever.

This album is remarkable. One interesting feature to note in Explosions in the Sky's music at this stage was that their sound is completely reliant on electric guitars, bass guitars, and drums. Another interesting quality to note is that the majority of this record, with the exception of track one and about half of track four, is written in triple meter. This record is very accessible, yet harmonically dense and exceptionally deep.

The first track, while probably the weakest on the album, is still an effective opener. This is the only track written entirely in common time, which Explosions in the Sky seems oddly averse to i comparison to the afforementioned triple meter. This track segues into the next one, The Only Moment We Were Alone, which is, in my opinion, the best track on this album. This track builds gradually using guitar/guitar/bass interplay into two climactic crescendos, a soft break, and then a brilliant reprise from the second crescendo into a final, climactic conclusion for which I can find no more adequate description than musical nostalgia.

The third track is almost as effective as the second. After reaching its first crescendo, the song changes directions and keys midway. The song concludes and segues into the next track, Memorial, which begins by sustaining a single tone for nearly a minute. The intro to this song, as another reviewer pointed out, is evocative of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by the Beatles. Of the songs on the album, I found this one to be the most accessible. It contains a very strong intro, though I find the latter parts of the song a little lacking compared to the earlier.

The final track is probably the most liked on this album by the general populace. The polyrhythmic guitar interplay in the intro is extremely effective, and the music develops perfectly. My only gripe is that for the last song on the album, it seems to have a rather weak conclusion.

Speaking of conclusions, for the most part, they aren't really necessary on this album as each song segues into the next.

One of my chief complaints for Explosions in the Sky's music is that the drumming on their album often tends to be rather drab and tasteless. Fortunately, on this album, that's not the case. Whenever drums are used, they are used tastefully and appropriately. Whenever they are unnecessary, they aren't used.

This is a wonderful album with very few weakpoints. Five stars and recommended to any lover of music.

Report this review (#109091)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have recently had a set of post-rock revelations, getting into first Mogwai, then Sigur Ros, and now Explosions in the Sky. My main attraction to the genre is the way it is capable of making me feel, and how each of the albums I've listened to recently affects me in different ways. Mogwai's Happy Songs For Happy People, for example, brought on a mad rush of emotions that were hard to sort out. Sigur Ros's Agaetis Byrjun, however, simply made me feel calm, relaxed, and happy. Explosions in the Sky's The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place gives me many feelings, putting me directly into the situations described by the song titles.

Take First Breath After Coma (the album opener) as an example. For all nine and a half minutes, I feel like I am in the presence of a loved one who has just awoken from a coma. With Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean, I feel tranquil and relaxed, as if I were alone below the waves, safely watching the ocean around me. Each of the other three songs affects me in a similar manner.

The songs on the album are all long, between eight and eleven minutes, but they never get boring. Unlike many bands, Explosions in the Sky has enough ideas to fill five songs of this length, and that is what they do. Perfectly. They don't try to push too far and add too much. Because of the lengths of the songs, most have multiple climaxes, usually with a small one in the middle and then a great big one that closes out the song. The build-ups are slower than Mogwai's or Sigur Ros's, but Explosions in the Sky have done very well here, and never lost the listener's interest. While somewhat formulaic, it is a good formula, and Explosions in the Sky has perfected it.

One thing I particularly like about post-rock is that while it seems to rely on two things: soft interludes/build-ups and pounding climaxes, it never gets old, because each individual band does it differently. With The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, Explosions in the Sky scored a winner in their own style, and I expect my enjoyment will only grow with future listens. While I prefer Agaetis Byrjun and Happy Songs For Happy People to this album, you can't go wrong with any of them. This album is no downer, and receives a well-earned three stars. Recommended.!

Report this review (#110550)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I picked up this album, I expected some weird stuff. A very well-established post rock fan previous to purchasing this record, I was accustomed to hearing some odd material that took a few listens to get into. Well folks, I've got news for you. Not this album. This is one of the most accessible pieces of post rock music I've ever heard, and it doesn't sacrifice any of the emotion or surrealism that the genre entails.

I can't say enough about how powerfully uplifting this album is, nor about the means in which it achieves this mood. An extremely small group a four members, EITS is able to produce emotions that rival those made by the nine-piece GY!BE. In this sense, Explosions exemplifies the very definition of post rock: using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes. Two guitars (sometimes three), a bass, and drums produce what I had thought to be unthinkable pieces of music. The guitar is truly turned into a melodic instrument, and makes the lack of vocals entirely irrelevant. The eccentric snare drum patterns add such intensely steady grooves, even in extremely slow compositions.

To give this piece of work anything less than five stars is a tragedy. If someone came up to me and asked to hear post rock for the first time, this is the album I would give them. It is truly one of the greatest post rock albums ever.

Report this review (#121210)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Explosions in the Sky's Pandora box, metaphysical relief world, continued with "The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place" even more elegantly and intriguingly than its predecessor. Each detail is carefully handed with consummated subtlety, and mixed with some inspired soundscapes, transforming this approach in the hymn of their vision of music, their most achieved sensible artwork so far.

First track recreates Mankind resurgence, a 3 part suite, from the very Dark Side of the Moon's heartbeat beginning, to a state of ethereal joyfulness (more again the high-pitched guitars give a hand on this aspect) ending in a laboriously catharses, as nostalgia/introspectiveness arrives in a painful subconscious emergence. Second track "The Only Moment We Were Alone" states precisely this necessity of being alone subdued to this ego adaptation, while the beautiful recital "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean", starting with a beautiful elegy of subtle acoustic guitars intercruzade which beyond transform in an intense feeling of metaphysical sadness, slowly becomes to show glimpses of a new arousal. "Memorial" functions as a paradox of the previous album "A Poor Man's Memory" - here Past is seen definitely from a mature, risen soul, the one who is cured from the previous traumas, looking them not with existential anguish, but indeed something to learn for. Something for the future, which, is somewhat foreseen in the ingenious romantic feeling of "Your Hand in Mine", ending the album with a joyful hope.

Atmospheric, beautiful and touching. Although here or there we have the feeling of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor's dynamics dejavu, this is an imposing work, embracing different feelings - the sum of this band's art. 4,5 stars.

Report this review (#123353)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Melancholy.

Thats the principle emotion I get when I listen to this music. It's a mosaic of fluttering fender strats, reserved, melodic pluckings, incredibly satisfying drumming and a backseat bass player that add the dimension of setting and presence. These four guys create some beautiful, awe inspiring unique music with just guitar, bass and drums.

The album was nothing like I expected it to be. I acquired it with a dubious perspective, I had thought that all of the good prog was behind us. (You can certainly see what I mean when you look at current offerings from Yes and the other classic bands) A fresh new perspective on music is what I gained from this album, and a new favourite album to add to the list.

Their sound is hard to articulate.. A mass of ups and downs and all arounds. It all flows so seamlessly that you are compelled to listen with all of your attention and follow. The bands strength is their profound sense of melody, which is really the center of all happenings, the rest just following and complementing the beautiful, soaring melodies.

Post-Rock is nothing to be afraid of.. Approach with an open mind to this album and you will be rewarded. This is solitary listening material.

I love you, EITS.

Report this review (#127392)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Music which generates such soaring emotions and delicate soundscapes you might ignore the fact that almost every song is written in the same key and tempo! The exceptionally limited sound of "TEINACDP" is forgivable because it is so earnestly played and has a genuine uplifting effect on the listener (so long as they don't expect too much in the way of creativity).

The crystalline chiming which begins the album, followed by the rousing guitar melody (which begs to be in a movie trailer) says just about all this album has to say: that the earth is not a cold dead place. Explosion's music is vital if only for their ability to tug at one's emotions, generating both melancholy and gigantic power in their soundscapes; however, I cannot imagine listening to this music as anything other than background music... it's just too bland to command one's full-attention. There are other bands within the genre doing more interesting things, but Explosions are certainly worth checking out.

Recommended for those seeking moody instrumental music.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#127806)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars It's like the band is making a statement, "The earth is not a cold dead place".Then they go on to prove this with the music they create. I have read the word "beauty" over and over again from fellow reviewers as they try to describe this music. This is beautiful, melodic and uplifting music and I might add it is amazing music to listen to when your driving. I was driving home from work today and the sun was shining the temperature was about 75 F and i'm listining to this glorious music with a smile on my face. No, the world is far from being a cold, dead place.

"First Breath After Coma" is by far my favourite song on this album. The guitars sound so good as they are picked so smoothly.The drums and bass add a new dimension 3 1/2 minutes in,i like it ! After 4 minutes the song stops and slowly rebuilds to such an uplifting high. It ends quite powerfully.

"The Only Moment We Were Alone" is another good song that kicks in briefly before 2 minutes before settling back down. Once again the drumming is a highlight for me as the guitars create a beautiful melody 5 minutes in. There is an explosion (haha) of sound before 9 minutes. "Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean" opens with gentle guitar melodies for 2 1/2 minutes before slowing down to a whisper 4 minutes in. It srarts to build back up and drums pound away to close it out. "Memorial" has a full sound 3 1/2 minutes in and grows to a climax 8 minutes in. "Your Hand In Mine" starts to build 3 minutes in as drums start to make their presence known. The guitar becomes more aggressive after 4 1/2 minutes.

Not a five star album by any means in my book, but a must have for those wanting to check out the Post-Rock genre. My daughter loves to listen to this album when she's doing her homework at university, it's inspiring and enlightning. 4 exploding stars.

Report this review (#128973)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a tough four-star rating for me. Because while I definitely feel that this album is an excellent addition to any prog-lover's collection, I'm not entirely sure whether this music can be appropriately labeled "prog." Regardless, the powers that be have deemed that Explosions in the Sky is indeed a progressive band, so I'll treat the music as such. Semantics aside, this truly is a beautiful piece of work. Can I understand how some reviewers have found it boring? Sure. A part of me has to wonder whether these reviewers have grown so accustomed to the avante-gardish meanderings of the post-rock scene that they've found the simplicity here to be uninspired, but I'm also willing to admit that the musical developments here can often sound formulaic and a bit safe.

On the other hand, I also feel that the emotions that the band is trying to convey require a certain amount of musical domestication. It would be difficult to see how a heartbreaking piece of nostalgia like "Your Hand in Mine" could be expressed with shifting time signatures and double-take-inducing instrumental asides. In this way, I think one could reasonably make the argument that the members of Explosions in the Sky are less musicians than they are artists. I had the privilege of seeing these guys in a tiny venue in St. Augustine, Florida, and I understood this argument that night more than ever. Seeing the guitarists playing with their eyes closed throughout most of the show, swaying with their rhythm and taking turns playing their guitars while laying down on the floor, we could all understand how straightforwardly personal this music is to them. None of them had to prop one leg onto any of the guitar amps in order to perform any mind-blowingly complex solos, and I'm pretty sure Christopher's drum set wouldn't have even made up a quarter of Mike Portnoy's percussion circus. Plain and simply, these guys are making their living out of creating pictures with their sounds, and I think they're doing a damn good job of it. Hrasky's hearbeat drumming at the beginning of "First Breath After Coma" may not be completely original, but you'll probalby look back at it as almost entirely necessary after being pulled into the wonderful melody that rises from a wrinkled hospital bed into the world of second chances.

In short, if you're looking for music that ventures into unforeseen territory while scoffing at traditional convention and form, you may not be that excited with Explosions. If, however, you're looking for passionately honest music that looks to open up doors to memories and emotions (both painful and beautiful), this album is simply excellent.

Report this review (#132356)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Your Hand In Mine is my favorite track on this album, its such an emotional, powerful, and deep song made for escaping. Just a few members with 2 playing guitar create some of the most emotional and spirit-raising music that graces your ears. Each track is carefully performed to just radiate into the ears and ease your soul into the right state of mind to face anything afterwards.

Explosions In the Sky did a fantastic job on all levels, emotion is in their fingers and it really shows. Its hard to tire of the material here, but it really isn't that groundbreaking, they just pull everything off more gracefully than most groups would be able to do.

A great album for post-rock fans who like GYBE, only this isn't quite as desolate and dark. A great album to clear your head and to just get away to a seemingly perfect place made from music.

Report this review (#142845)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Wow. None of EITS albums reached over 4-star level. I can see why.

Despite all those euphoric reviews and high ratings, I'll be with my old opinion. EITS simply didn't click on me, as well as MOGWAI and SIGUR ROS. I see no PROGression really. Same old chords, same old tremolos, same old melodies, same old "marchy" drumming in climaxes...It's funny, but there are bands that manage to create a wonderful stuff out of guitar-driven Post-Rock cliches (just to mention MONO). EITS is not that kind of band I think. It's seriously overrated band ;) Some moments are utterly dull and boring. I'd never recommend this to a Post-Rock newbie (take GYBE, TORTOISE, TALK TALK, anything instead!). 2.333 stars

Report this review (#148721)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first encounter with EITS, and if first impressions make lasting impressions, then I am impressed by this impression (LAWL). The world is not a cold dead place actually makes me believe that it's not, the album is very relaxing, and positive, contrary to most post rock, it's not dominated by melancholia, but by a sense of being victorious, and glory. Twin guitar guitar arpeggios dance with each other while a military-like snare roll usually compliments the atmosphere, but the album is not like this the whole way through, most of the songs start softer, dimmer, then slowly, but surely climax into heightened arpeggios and even distorted chords.

Like I said, most of the songs will start with a single guitar, playing a small series of notes (never chords), but after a while the second guitar will come in and play off that, usually in a minor key. The guitars bounce off each other like this for quite awhile, until the mood turns out to become very happy, then the drum come in, very non flashy, staring with a simple beat, then as the song climaxes, so does the drums, with snare rolls, faster fills, and gradually more complex beats. At the climax the bass is the only keeping the son from become a free-for-all of complexity, just sitting and playing the notes and keeping the rhythm, the anchor to an otherwise soaring craft. This is basically the trend of the album.

Absolutely beautiful. This is an album that started a movement, therefore is looked upon as a masterpiece, and rightly so! Two guitars, bass, and drums. That's it! Anyone looking into this music for technicality reasons, or does not have an open mind will be sorely disappointed. That being said, shame on anyone not going in with that state of mind. I dont care if it's all in the same key, same tempo, same tone. It's beautiful, it's imaginative, it's free, and simply put; it make me feel. No less than five stars.

Report this review (#156438)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY prove that simple music doesn't equal bad music. Although some sections of the album are sat on too long for me, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY make extremely emotional music with a small ensemble and few notes. This album really does make the listener feel like the Earth is not a cold dead place, and each song has its memorable moments. This is very uplifting music which I recommend to anyone looking for some real emotion done really well. 4 Stars.
Report this review (#157200)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Most overrated band on PA maybe? In my opinion its a big yes. This may be their biggest album their crowning glory to some. But in my opinion it's a mix of stolen material past off as something else. Do something original, don't form a band over half a decade after Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Godspeed... and try and act all hipster and do a movie score and think youre good. cause in fact. you're not. thanks but no thanks. PASS
Report this review (#161198)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really like EITS and this is their acknowledged best album, so I am tempted to give a 5 star rating. But, I try and be very stingy with the 5 star ratings, so it gets a 4. This is post-rock that is dominated by the electric guitar, but mostly in a mellow fashion, not a metal style at all. It is nowhere near as complex as Godspeed but then few are. The album does have a certain sameness of sound all the way through (as others have mentioned), but it never really gets boring to me. This is a great album to sit back and soak in. If you like post-rock at all, then this is one of the better ones out there.
Report this review (#173630)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have to be in the "mood" in order to best enjoy this stream of extremely slow tempo music which requires patience to digest it well. Not just the slow thing that bothers me at first spin, its repetitive passages that sound boring to my ears. I force my self to "eat" the music because I have browse the net and find that this album has been critically acclaimed in the territory of post rock progressive (what is this?). It was a struggle for me with this album as I did not know which ears that I should use to digest the music? Should I take Radiohead or Muse ears? Oh no .. I'd rather use my Porcupine Tree's ears to digest and try to enjoy the music.

Actually, this kind of music is not me. but I give it a try anyway, by being patient with how long the music moves. At the fourth spin, I think, I finally can grab this kind of music, the key is really to relax while playing the music and let the musicians dictate our minds with their material. The entertaining factor of the music is when it changes from one style to another, say with the entrance of drumming, or guitar solo. Because most of the music is basically a repetition of the same chords and notes .. over and over! But I tried it hard to understand the movement from one passage to another. And I don't think there is a challenge offered by the music and I believe that there is no complex arrangements in here. But that's OK. I finally decide myself to let the music flow as it is and it grows a bit on me. I definitely need a guidance from those who love this kind of music. I know when this is played loud, it sounds better than it's played in soft.

If I give this album with two stars, I mean that this album is for those who really understand the music and it does not mean that this is a bad album. It's a matter of . I am not the right person to review because it's not the kind of prog that I get used to. I'll give it another chance and change the rating when I am ready, probably with the 10th spin!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#180409)
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'The only moment we ever shared alone'

This album proved to me that it isn't WHAT you play..but instead HOW you play it. On each song on this album, the music found within it, is very simple; it's almost laughably simplistic. A few cords here, a few notes there, all strung together with a very simple mood setting. Each song has a very basic beat pattern, and a very simple undertone. Even the basic cords that are played, are played over and over again throughout the song. The build up that are used never really resolve, instead dissolve.

So how on earth (which is not a cold, dead place) is this album a masterpiece?

As I said, it's not what you play..but how you play it. This is the key to the masterpiece of the album.

The album really explores the sounds the artists are making. It allows for some thought of the music. It's the simplicity that makes this album so beautiful. It takes a bit to get use to the system; I myself found it difficult to understand how the band could create such powerful build ups, just to leave it to nothing. Then it hit me: it was the buildups that created the beautiful music in this album. It was a journey, not a destination. It was the walk through the woods, the drive down a long and winding road, the floating through space; not the final out come. That is what makes this album so different and so enjoyable. It presents so many different moods, and so many flavours of those moods, it's hard to comprehend at first. You really need to sit down, dim the lights, put a randomizing visual stimulus, and drift. This album will take you places you've never been before.

This factor alone is not enough to be awarded the masterpiece metal in my books. You must aspire to more then just astounding music. Yes, the music on this album is unlike any I've ever heard before. Check. Yes, this album stretches the limits of music. Check. Yes, the music is actually enjoyable. Check. Each song fits perfectly within the album and flows well into the next creating a seamless transition. What else do you need? I keep coming back to this album. Even after having this album for a number of years, I keep coming back to it. Each song is phenomenal; there is no weak song and no low point on the album. If I can sit back, hit play, and not have to get up to skip a track, you've just made it to at least a 3.5 in my books. If you've covered that base, it's hard to get anything less then four stars. Add in the fact that this album truly is unlike anything I've ever heard neither before nor since first pushing play..well then my've found yourself a masterpiece.

If this was my only Post-Rock/Math Rock album I owned, I would be a happy man. No doubt, 5 stars for a complete masterpiece.

'The Earth is not a Cold Dead place'.so go out and enjoy it.

Report this review (#182633)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place pours emotion, atmospheric depth, and a tells a story like none other!

This is one of the most emotionally stimulating albums of the 21st century. Amazingly, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY manages without words. Two guitars, a bass and a drummer are what comprise this band, and who knew that such a bare instrumentation (no keyboards) could make such atmospheric heart wrenching music. The key is all in their song names:

First Breath After Coma The Only Moment We Were Alone Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean Memorial Your Hand In Mine

If this album had lyrics, I would have to guess it would be a concept album, for every song flows into another; the band could have easily released this album as one song. They provide song names and let your imagination run wild as to what story they are trying to tell. This album is so uplifting and gives you that happy-even-though-im-tearing-up feeling. The music does not really demand much from the listener accept some patience for the first listen, because you cant really appreciate it as much until you know what to expect. I will admit that I didn't even like it that much until I listened to it three or four times, and here I am giving it five stars. I recommend this to anyone who likes GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, SIGUR ROS, MOGWAI, CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO, KING CRIMSON, and perhaps YES.

There are soft moments with two guitars playing happy or sometimes sad harmonies that sing a magical melody and a beautiful ambiance. The band also manages without very many effects; to them its all in the chords and emotion that do the work. These quiet moments are usually without drums, then the drums build underneath the guitars much like GY!BE does where it explodes into a beautiful stream of distorted guitars, one holding the chord and the other playing a beautiful lead. The drums are played differently than one might expect, sometimes trying to sound like a lead instrument, other times played like drum line marching style (once again like GY!BE) The bass, usually isn't very evident, but sometimes it plays high to accompany the guitars harmonies. So if you are expecting a very generic and boring sound to come out of this band because of the instrumentation and lack of effects, well you are probably wrong. The standout tracks to me are The Only Moment We Were Alone and Six Days at The Bottom of the Ocean."

I cannot explain this album, to you track by track, because it is just something that you are going to have to experience yourself. Unquestionably a definite YES from me as a fan of progressive music. I give this album 4.5 stars rounded up, because the instrumentation amazes me. The flow of the album is so smooth, so you will find yourself starting at the beginning of the album, not allowing yourself to listen to individual tracks, because you have this feeling that something isn't complete. Listening to individual tracks off this album would be like trying to watch one or two scenes of a movie. "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place" is definitely a masterpiece of prog, and I beckon anyone to give it a try. Masterpiece!


Report this review (#202620)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Explosions In The Sky, 4 elements, 4 instruments, music which beats to heart's rhythm.

When 'First Breath After Coma' comes in with its magnetic wave-like sounds, and it slowly builds a beautiful melody between the two guitars, you can see there's something different about this, the simple melodies create a fantastic dimension quite soulful, in a slow build-up until it stops for an ambient pause, the title of the songs helps us imagine the story, in fact it gives freedom to make up our own interpretation of the story, as for every track of the album.

The album is like the name of the band announces, 'explosions in the sky', and that's really what you imagine hearing this album, big explosions in a shinny night in slow-motion, to the beat of the music, the crescendo of 'The Only Moment We Were Alone' makes us levitate, throw your head and arms to the air and close your eyes, we obey when 'Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean' sends us to lie in the ocean floor, feeling the quiet ripple and vibration. The end couldn't be happier, 'Your Hand In Mine' leaves us hoping for a happy ending and a whole life ahead.

This is not sad or melancholic music, it's only beautiful, with a spacial feeling and dimension, dreamy and hopeful, like the feeling of walking gloriously towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

I consider this a masterpiece of post-rock, which all fans of the genre should listen so, 5 stars

Report this review (#209300)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was my first experience with EITS, and it was a pleasant one. They focus on making long, emotionally charged instrumentals built of layered guitars and drums. Like many great bands, the emotion felt when listening to this is present but ambiguous- exactly what the listener feels is up to him or her, but there's no doubt they will feel it. They are similar to GY!BE, except their music is less depressed and apocalyptic, instead being tender and loving. The only problem is that, like Mogwai, they aren't very diverse, and all the songs essentially run on the same basic formula. It's on the border between three stars and four, but I think I'll go four because they're pretty much essential to anyone looking to know what post-rock is all about.
Report this review (#261012)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hmm, now although i do like this band to an extent, i never really got why theyre on Prog Archives,never really counted them as progressive, but meh there here, i own 2 albums so i'll do a review on both. The one thing that really annoys me about this band is that every song is too samey same, their quite bland, every song (as beautiful as most of them are) just seem to start with nothing and build up till a climax, now some people could argue that that is part of being a 'progressive band' but isnt vairation also part of it? i would just like to hear a little more of that is all, theres really nothing else to add here, the production is good and the musicmanship is second to none the songs are very beautiful though so instead marking them on everything else, ill mark each song on just sheer beauty;

First Breath After Coma - 8/10 The Only Moment We Were Alone - 10/10 Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean - 10/10 Memorial - 7/10 Your Hand in Mine - 9/10

MY CONCLUSION? is there anything else to add here? if your a fan of the band MONO, or just a post-rock fan in gereral its worth a look, but it can get annoying after a while..

Report this review (#287581)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well first off it is great to have Explosions In The Sky on Progressive Archives. This Texan band have a lot to offer in the Post Rock/Math genre. In 2003 they released this album, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. The irony of this title is the music can ( to a normal listener) appear to be drones of five songs all sounding the same. Repetitive themes, tweaked here and there and refashioned for the next song. This is not the case. In understanding this music there is a gradual hypnotic climatic build to the songs, a kind of " Lite" version of Godspeed You Black Emperor and they are different. Marginally so perhaps. ' The Only Moment We Were Alone" is a beautiful soundscape, almost painting visuals as the song builds. The aptly titled " Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean" hauntingly conveys themes of singularity, emptiness, minimalism and melancholy. If you like GSYBE or Talk Talk's Laughing Stock then this release will fit perfectly in your collection. Great muzak. Math Rock revived prog at the right time. Three and a half stars.
Report this review (#295845)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's what you think of when the term ''post rock'' enters the discussion. THE EARTH IS NOT A COLD DEAD PLACE is cluttered with guitar textures that have more to do with atmosphere and mood than the traditional use of guitar (riffing and soloing). The drumming is very orchestral and focused that can go absent and enhance the mood in ways you never could expect.

The whole sound has very much indie rock credibility as that's what the guitar sounds remind me of. So, all bets are off hoping for anything bombastic in the traditional prog sense; we're completely absent of vocals and keyboards here, and bass lines are very hard to find. The guitar lines can paint beautiful mental pictures if you really sit back and let the music flow over you.

The real problem with this album is that every track holds the same musical value. By the time we reach ''Memorial'', Explosions in the Sky add nothing new to what has already been said in the astounding opening one-two punch (''First Breath After Coma'' and ''The Only Moment We're Alone''). In a sense, EitS becomes a one-trick pony and you can predict the guitar lines by the end of the album. A great start that unfortunately deflates into mediocrity.

Report this review (#296418)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
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.

Report this review (#321663)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a band that I discovered in 2009, though their last album is two years old. EITS is "Post Rock," a style of instrumental music using rock instruments to create compositions that are epic and full of texture, at times atmospheric, at other times loud and blasting.

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY is very proggish in that it makes you wonder if this would have been the music that some classical composers would have created if they had an electric guitar, a bass and a drumkit.

Instrumental music doesn't get any better than this.

As Rolling Stone magazine reviewer David Fricke wrote, "In this band, a real singer would just get in the way?or get run over."

Report this review (#442822)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all i want to say thank you to explosions in the sky for having done this album that changed my life the first time that i heard it in 2006.

"The earth is not a cold dead place" is a very different to any other work of the band, the sound are the cleanest of the history of the band. the whole disc are a package of mini-operas which begins with a masterpiece called "first breath after coma" , guys, this song are unbelievable, is simply hypnotizing since their first chords and it is the perfect example of which this kind of post rock is not about sadness,in fact is a little bit about melancholy and hope.

Another songs that have this feeling is "Six days at the bottom of the ocean" and "The only moment we were alone" both songs are a great opportunity to enter a very relaxing trip. The rest of the songs continue with the essence of the disc, and i refeer to "Memorial" and "You hand in mine"

"Earth is not a cold dead place" is the perfect example to understand that the music not necessarily needs lyrics, only two guitars, a bass and drums, not more for a musical journey across the space and time!

explosions in the sky is totally different to GYBE (for example) and i don´t think that the prog fans must compare them, even with Sigur ros or tortoise or Mono, maybe with A silver mount zion in essence, and this disc demonstrates it in my opinion

Finally, maybe this disc is not the culminant point of the post rock, but if of explosions in the sky

4 Unforgettable stars

Report this review (#449364)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky is one of those albums that words can describe the music but not the feeling you get while listening to it. This is the album you will listen to when you get your first kiss, your first crush, your first real girlfriend, this is the best album ever. It can make you feel emotions you've never felt about things that have never happened, it can make you cry just because of reading reviews about it, it is the most important post-rock album that has ever been released, to me at least.

Mainly my reviews are long and dwell deep into each song and its contents but I am very tired and thus can only say my emotions regarding each of these amazing tracks. First off, only the names are amazing and heartbreaking, songs like "The Only Moment We Were Alone" and "Your Hand in Mine" are simple names and yet they can tear you up just by staring at the titles.

The album starts with First Breath After Coma, which literally sounds like how you would feel. The slow awakening followed by the urge to live life to the maximum, that is what I would do. The three guitars and pumping drums convey that feeling beautifully and throughout these nine and a half minutes you feel empty yet full, reborn.

The Only Moment We Were Alone is also amazing, however less memorable. I cannot write about every song because most of them make me feel the same way, but that is one amazing feeling and you just have to listen to the album to understand.

The next two songs, Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean, and Memorial, are songs that are beautiful as well but I did not manage to connect to them as well as I did with the other three.

The next and final song is heartbreaking post-rock masterpiece Your Hand in Mine. This is my favorite song in the entire world. It has followed me throughout every time I fell in love, lost a family member, or a friend. The things that it makes you feel are things I have never felt in my life. It's as if the post-rocky riffs combined with simple but powerful drum parts, and that ever-memorable guitar line played in the second part, just make you feel like some sort of god. You feel like you can do anything, like you can climb any mountain and succeed or jump off any building and live (do not try this, because it is only a feeling and will most likely get you killed), it is the most epic post-rock song written.

This album, influenced a bit by bands like Mogwai and in some way even Godspeed You! Black Emperor, is the best album I have ever heard. I don't want to repeat this too many times but this truly brings up so many emotions that you just have to hear it to believe it. Yet again a five star review for yet again what is truly an amazing post rock album.

Report this review (#481625)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars By the mid-2000s, post-rock was by no means a fresh or original idea, any more than (say) jazz fusion was by the middle of the 1970s or symphonic prog was by 1977. That doesn't, of course, mean that it was impossible for bands to make a good post-rock album in 2003, or even a classic one - and indeed many did. But what it did mean is that you couldn't expect to get many props simply for playing in a standard, generic post-rock mode, any more than you could expect to impress people by playing generic and uninspired Yes-ripoffs in the late 1970s: by the time The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place came out, post-rock bands - even the founding fathers of the genre - really needed some sort of unique aspect to their sound to distinguish them from their peers.

For the longest time (and in an earlier version of this review) I was one of those who didn't count Explosions In the Sky as being anything special; despite the fact that The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place is supposedly a concept album about love, numerous early listens failed to make an emotional connection between me and the album, not least because at first they seem to be engaging in rote repetition of Godspeed You Black Emperor/Mogwai-inspired atmospheres without the emotional overtones. Time and experience has clearly changed me though; in particular, I now detect an underpinning of hope in the tone of these compositions which, perhaps, I previously wasn't in the mood to acknowledge. This sits sufficiently at odds with the melancholy and apocalypticism that is usually more associated with post-rock that I find myself compelled to reassess Explosions In the Sky, and find that there's more to them than met my ears at first.

Report this review (#662546)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The '01 album "Those Who Tell the Truth (...etc. etc. etc.)" marked a quantum leap forward in confidence and style for the Post Rock shamans from Austin, Texas, after their uncertain studio debut the previous year. But that sophomore effort still showed the stretch marks of a difficult gestation: stealing voice-over film monologues to underline musical points, and so forth. It would be another two years before the maturing sound of Explosions in the Sky finally matched the band's fanciful name: erupting into the west Texas firmament on a rapturous blaze of instrumental glory.

And once again I find myself apologizing for the hothouse flowers of my over-fertilized prose (hardly inappropriate in a Progressive Rock forum, you would think). I had already heard a few isolated selections from the album, on their page here at ProgArchives and at the band's own web site. But absorbing the entire thing in a single, uninterrupted sitting was a revelatory experience, by turns uplifting, mournful, triumphant, cathartic, elegiac, and devastating. It's no wonder my rhetoric turned purple in response.

On a strictly emotional level the closest kneejerk comparison would be to the majestic year 2000 GY!BE epic "Lift Your Skinny Fists (...etc. etc. etc.)", re-imagined on a more intimate and personal scale. There's an almost symphonic grandeur to the album that Beethoven or Wagner might have recognized and applauded, beginning with the nine-plus minute intro "First Breath After Coma": a brilliant title, by the way, for such transfiguring music. And yet there's also a disarming simplicity to the arrangements and performances, wistful and delicate one moment but overpowering elsewhere.

The music achieves its apotheosis in the awesome climax of "Memorial", rising gradually from a series of long, overlapping guitar sustains toward a pyrotechnic release of dramatic tension, before reaching graceful resolution in the beautiful coda "Your Hand in Mine". All five of the album's tributary movements combine into one broad river, flowing together more smoothly than any other EitS effort before or since. The writing is likewise more intuitive, and the balance of sound more natural: the expected bursts of fuzzed-out noise are less abrupt, and the drumming less reliant on over-produced boom-thud cacophony.

To be honest I wasn't expecting anything more than the usual Post Rock epiphanies, aglow with higher purpose but stuck in the same shining rut. The typically long-winded, moody yet hopeful album title; the lovely but reticent artwork by Esteban Rey (...Stephen King?); the chiming double- guitar configurations...all point to standard Post Rock style and usage. But musically it remains one of the defining albums of its kind: a desert-island essential in the remote Post Rock archipelago.

A word of advice, however: don't cherry-pick samples as I first did. Immerse yourself fully in the unabridged 46-minute aggregate, and (again, with apologies!) touch the wonder.

Report this review (#1180769)
Posted Friday, May 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

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