Earth: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I

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Earth: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
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Earth: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
Doom Metal, Drone
Southern Lord Records
February 22nd, 2011
Release length: 1:00:26
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Earth has been around for quite a while, though chances are good many people have never heard of this group before. The band formed back in 1990, though broke up in 1997, and stayed that way until 2003. The music the band plays varies greatly, but Earth is more commonly known for being one of the pioneering groups of the Doom/Drone style of music. They’ve gone from straight Drone Metal to Stoner Rock and lately seem to take a Southern Doom/Drone Metal approach to their music that, in recent years, seems more meditative than anything. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I carries on that style nicely.

The album may only be five tracks long, but the band manages to squeeze about an hour of music out of these five songs. This is due to the band taking their slow Doom Metal and minimizing it into a Droning style that can last over twenty minutes, which is the case in the title track, “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I”. But, though the songs may be a little longer then you would expect, or want, the imagery that comes with this release is pretty obvious, as well as pretty stable. With each of these songs, one can’t help but picture the sheriff in an old west film, or just a random bunch of cowboys in any span of time, sitting back and relaxing on the porch of a building, or even the sheriff’s office, even able to take it further to see one sitting there with a piece of straw in his teeth with a cowboy hat pulled down to cover his eyes from the sun, leaning back on a wooden chair by pushing a leg against the wooden railing in front of him. This is the image that springs to mind through most of the recording, though the closing title track just brings in the image of a barren desert, wind kicking up the sand with a random roaming tumbleweed passing by.

If it weren’t for the Western/Southern imagery, the album wouldn’t really work out so well. While the music does a good job of being meditative in a minimalist fashion through a Doom Metal approach, there’s nothing too spectacular about it. That minimalist approach leaves the songs to become highly repetitive, but what saves it is the echoing music and the manner it’s played, which relies heavily on atmosphere, which all of these tracks are rich in. The songs manage to paint a picture in your mind, and sometimes incorporates a little something extra, such as the title track with its random light cymbal taps at the end of the song. or the sound of sand being dusted around by the wind on “Hell’s Winter”. Each track here pretty much stays the same slow-tempo, often having this very light feel of tension to them as well, as if trying to direct you to a gun fight that the meditative musical approach won’t let you really experience. It’s a little rough at first, but it’s that slight bit of tension that helps these songs keep your attention throughout the entire track. “Old Black” benefits greatly from this, as the entire thing feels like the set up for a shoot out in a Western, but again, it just never seems to reach the point where it happens, acting more as the reflection of those involved then an actual gunfight.

Each song on Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I are very relaxing, though that slight tension looms in the mix. For that, it does its job well. The only real issue here is that the title track seems to go on longer then it really should. While this is the slowest song on the release, that speed leaves the song with little that can be done, and the band really does make the best of it, and for some it may wind up being a very well done piece that becomes awe-inspiring, but even to those the song will start to lose its flare due to its bare bones music and quick-growing repetition due to it. Had the song even been cut in half to roughly ten minutes, it would still feel as if it were over staying its welcome. Had it been a little richer, even with the atmosphere and imagery due to it kind of losing both as the song goes on, then it wouldn’t be much of a problem.

But, for the most part, this album is a very interesting piece. The band steps back from their more science fiction musical approach, and seems to really capture a more Western atmosphere. However, this is an album that finds itself pushed more by imagery through the music, and chances are good my interpretation will not be the interpretation of others, though I can’t see how it can be taken for anything else. Either way, for being a very mellow, laid back release, the first four tracks on here really show off a band who knows how to work the atmosphere and imagery of Droning metal, especially while utilizing a Doom foundation. If you haven’t experienced Earth yet, then there’s no better time to jump on then Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I.

01. Old Black – 8:40
02. Farther Midnight – 12:11
03. Descent to the Zenith – 7:30
04. Hell’s Winter – 11:32
05. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I – 20:24
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Earth (band)
Earth

Digital review copy of this release provided by Southern Lord Records via Earsplit PR.