Monday 10 January 2011

Angels And Demons Brought Back To Earth

I have to laugh when I read forums that bicker about Dylan Carlson, the man responsible for drone doom. When he burst onto the scene in the early Nineties with his Earth persona, his grunge inflected minimalist dark masterpieces blew everyone away, and is the sole reason why we have Sunn O))) today. Then Earth disappeared off the scene for a bit, but many didn’t notice as the drone doom genre flourished. Then in the early 00s Carlson returned, riding a flaming horse of death, and his music mirrored this – an underworld version of the true Western. His sound now encapsulates the type of music Ennio Morricone may have produced if he was scoring the end of the world. Both directions that Earth have taken are brilliant in my mind. Im not sure where Earth could have gone in its earliest guise, and this spectral dark country music that he now specialises in is scary in its resonance.

And so we come to Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I, the first in a series of thematically similar releases that are due out this year. Earth returns to the drone, riff-empty ethereal ism of albums like Hex, yet remains light years away from the acid white noise of yesteryear. These five tracks meander through a sonic wasteland that is so visceral you can feel the murk, gunk, dirt and stench of a dying badlands. The use of cello in the title track add further gravitas, through not inhibiting the flow of the music by becoming an anchor. In fact that is the point – these tracks drift along at their own pace, both cynical and resigned to the fate of the world. Its dark, yet somehow beautiful in its apocalyptic malaise. This is not going to appease the purists who have not let sleeping dogs lie since Carlson returned in 2005, therefore the forums will continue to run bright with shouts of blasphemy, defamation and heresy. But seriously, Dylan Carlson is still a giant of brutal orchestral sonic beauty, and even though he has gone all hellish frontiersman, he rides his pale horse defiantly.

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I is out on February 11 on Southern Lord Records.

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