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Explosions In The Sky

Post Rock/Math rock

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Explosions In The Sky The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place album cover
3.87 | 241 ratings | 50 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. First Breath After Coma (9:33)
2. The Only Moment We Were Alone (10:14)
3. Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean (8:43)
4. Memorial (8:50)
5. Your Hand in Mine (8:17)

Total Time 45:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Smith / guitar
- Munaf Rayani / guitar
- Michael James / bass
- Christopher Hrasky / drums

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Esteban Rey

CD Temporary Residence Limited - TRR 61 (2003, US)
CD Temporary Residence Limited - TRR 61 (2013, US)

2LP Temporary Residence Limited - TRR 61 (2003, US)
2LP Temporary Residence Limited - TRR 61 (2016, US)

Digital album (2003)

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place ratings distribution

(241 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frenchie
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.

Review by Philo
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.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by 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.
Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by GoldenSpiral
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ClemofNazareth
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 ŽŠT, 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.


Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Australian
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?

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by Moatilliatta
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.

Review by TRoTZ
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.

Review by 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

Review by 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.

Review by Prog-jester
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

Review by Dim
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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by Sinusoid
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by Neu!mann
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.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
2 stars Post rock is definitely a genre of music I have been quite familiar with ever since I started getting really into music. One day I was listening to Jamiroquai and Prince, and then bam, I was listening to some very heavy tracks that sounded like they came from a nightmare. It was honestly weird and crazy to me then but now, I really dig it. Some interesting stuff to be found with these albums, and the fan recognition is well deserved. Even when it is fairly niche, it adds and inspires so much to the modern music scene. One of the more popular acts that came from the post rock scene has to be Explosions In The Sky. Founded in Texas in 1999, they have a pretty strong following and a strong reputation. I have heard about this group for a bit of a while now, and I have been sorta interested in checking them out for a while, so I decided to check out one of their more popular releases, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. After hearing it, I can say that it's pretty alright, I'll explain when talking about the songs.

The first song is First Breath After Coma. It starts off with a little guitar chord being plucked that evolves into a bass riff, then a more cohesive guitar riff with drums, and more and more the song just seems to evolve with more textures and ambience, giving the track a dream-like feel to it all, and as the song progresses it keeps up with it's own tempo without the direct need for changing things all too much, just subtle changes to get the ball rolling. I really like this track as a starter, it allows you to introduce yourself to the sound of this band without the need of beating you over the head with it. However I feel like this track lacks a level of emotion. It's definitely pretty, but what I love about post rock is that it can bring out the emotions of anyone, whether anger, sadness, confusion, fear, etc and etc. This doesn't do it for me, and I feel like if they added a bit more, maybe some field recordings and samples from stuff then maybe it'd give me those feels I am craving for, but right now as it stands, it's not that good at the job.

The next song is The Only Moment We Were Alone. It's a bit quieter and a bit more spacey than the last track, which I actually think adds a bit more charm unlike the last track, and it definitely makes me feel something a little more. I feel a bit cold when listening to this track, it's not creepy but it does somehow give me a bit of the chills with how the guitar plays and those great drums. They add more and more to the song as it goes on, taking some breaks in between to spice things up. This is a major improvement already, and it has already become one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Moving along we have Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean. It continues the same torch the last track pulled but it has its own charm, like how the guitars now sound like they are weeping, and how near the end it sounds like it is building up more and more to some climax that sadly, doesn't come to fruition. It just sorta ends, and I think it dampers the song majorly. It builds up to what could've been a great finisher for this song, but it never comes out, and it kinda makes me a little peeved. I wanted something, really anything. A big crescendo, a wall of noise, a guitar being shredded, literally anything would make this song so much better, but as it stands, it just kinda feels weak without what could've been at the end, so the journey would be so much more worthwhile.

After that, we got Memorial, and I really like this song. It starts off quiet and desolate but over time it gets more intense and bigger, heck it even gets a bit heavy with guitars that sound like something you'd hear on a heavy metal album. I honestly love how this song flows. It's so satisfying hearing the song switch from something so soft and delicate to something intense and awesome. It adds so much to this album that I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised when I first heard this song. The more I hear it the more I see the potential this band holds with their music, and I think this is one of their best songs to date with all of that reasoning alone.

And now the last track, Your Hand In Mine. This is very much like the first track as a matter of fact. A dream like feel with some great guitar work and drumming that gives the song it's own ambience that makes things all worthwhile in the end, however it still has the problem where it lack any really major emotions out of me, plus it just sorta ends without anything really big and grand, much like Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean, making the whole experience kinda half assed in my eyes. It's still a fine song, but it could've had so much potential to really make it the best it could've been.

So I like this album, but I am also very mixed at these songs. Sometimes they are great but other times, they feel like they lack the full potential this band can bring. As it stands, this is a fine album, but one I wouldn't listen to constantly. It's there, it's been done, it has some cool songs and sounds, but that's more or less all I have to say for this album.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Explosions in the sky worked on their skillset, got more ambitious and mature in their songwriting. Songs became longer which is always is a risky decision in post-rock. Either you make things develop slower or you need to add more ideas to compensate for the length. I think that the band is s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2943845) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, August 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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 b ... (read more)

Report this review (#481625) | Posted by The Runaway | Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#449364) | Posted by izquemia | Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 SK ... (read more)

Report this review (#442822) | Posted by BobVanguard | Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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, th ... (read more)

Report this review (#287581) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#261012) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 melo ... (read more)

Report this review (#209300) | Posted by JTP88 | Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#202620) | Posted by pianoman | Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ver ... (read more)

Report this review (#182633) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#173630) | Posted by digdug | Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 Godspe ... (read more)

Report this review (#161198) | Posted by shentile | Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 int ... (read more)

Report this review (#142845) | Posted by therevelator | Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#132356) | Posted by The Progmatist | Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#127392) | Posted by OGTL | Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 acces ... (read more)

Report this review (#121210) | Posted by Momentary Lapse | Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#110550) | Posted by Pnoom! | Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 intere ... (read more)

Report this review (#109091) | Posted by CaptainWafflos | Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 C ... (read more)

Report this review (#104276) | Posted by spleenache | Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#103889) | Posted by Revan | Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ' ... (read more)

Report this review (#96694) | Posted by sularetal | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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