Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Track(s) review For Earth 2:
Seven Angels, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Like Gold and Faceted: Due to the similar nature of all three 'songs' on this album, I will review them collectively. This album was released by Sub Pop (most notable as the first record label for Nirvana before they became famous) in 1992, and is the sonic template that nearly all future drone bands (in regards to rock/metal) would follow to one degree or another. Seven Angels opens the album with chugging guitar and bass, coupled with various feedback, both from the acoustic sources as well as electronic. This continues in various permutations, throughout the albums three songs, for seventy two minutes and fifty-three seconds.
So what makes this an engaging listen? The guitar riffs, while only deviating every so often from a set template, are both engaging and catchy as they slowly evolve alongside the shifting waves of feedback. The second track "Teeth of Lions Rule The Divine" (which would become the band name of another notable doom band), bursts forward with more feedback, static hum, and slowly riffed notes. This continues on for about twenty seven minutes, until the final track "Like Gold And Faceted" increases the noise textures even further and adds scattered drum and cymbal crashes
One of the several tongue-in-cheek 'consumer reviews' posted on the back of the CD cover re-issue enthusiastically declares: "...a physical presence in the room...I can almost touch the sounds" & "MY TENSION HEADACHES HAVE DISAPPEARED!" While I cannot personally assert the veracity of the second claim, the first one is quite correct, as it theoretically should be with most drone/doom/noise rock bands.The physical impact of the music can be quite impressive when played at fairly loud volumes (as is intended), although the music takes on a different aural aspect when listened on headphones, mainly because of the binaural stereo effect that is achieved when listening to any music on headphones. This is due to the fact that external objects in a room, the atmospheric conditions, and even the structuring of the inner-ear will prevent true stereo sound unless the music is heard from headphones.
While the "song" structures (if they can be called structured) are reptetitive, it is structured as a type of meditative experience, where one loses their sense of the present moment as the chords and feedback slowly evolve into more complex permutations. In a sense, it can be considered "active ambience", in which the music is not subtle, but achieves the same effect (tranquility/relaxed state) through guitar and feedback progression.
Obviously, this "music" is not for everyone. The listener must commit most of their attention while listening to the album for the full "effect" to take hold, and it is understandable that not everyone will have the patience to listen to, in effect, a seventy-two minute song with the same handful of chords repeated ad infinitum. If you think all the above text sounds like a pharmaceutical drug pamphlet description, I would also remind the reader that the insert of the Earth 2 album has a picture of no less than sixteen different drug bottles, overflowing with pills (some of which were undoubtedly consumed by the band's frontman, Dylan Carson, during the creation of the album).
In conclusion, if you are looking for a challenge, this is one album that should satisfy that desire. Earth would continue to create albums, although none would come close to matching the accomplished musicianship on this, their debut album.
Stars: * * * *
Well, I finally got around to posting another review, hope you enjoy it. This was a review that I wrote a few months ago (edited mostly for embarassing grammar problems and the occasionaly awkward phrase). Lately I have been going over a lot of new (for me, at least) underground bands in a variety of genres, so hopefully several new reviews will be arriving relatively soon (time permitting, of course).
Official Earth Website: http://www.thronesanddominions.com/
Sub-Pop Earth bio: http://www.subpop.com/bands/earth/earthbio.html
Current Earth Label: http://www.southernlord.com
Earth Re-Releases: http://www.subpop.com
Thursday, September 14, 2006
This is "Music For The Rest Of Us", providing you with opinions on unique music, as well as providing support for musicians I find interesting and/or unique, as well as the many excellent blogs who further support their work in various ways. There is music for the masses, and you know only too well what those acts are. Then there is music for the rest of us. Enjoy.
This first review, please forgive if it is a little ponderous; I wrote it some time ago and lately I have not had much time to revise it. Eventually, I will put it in "normal people language", but for now, here is my review of the Sunn O))) album "White2":
Hell-O)))-Ween: A lumbering beast of a 'song', "Hell-O)))-Ween" is nothing fancy: simpy Sunn O)))'s tried and true bass assault. Song progression is extremely slow, look for the first noticeable deviation around the half-way mark. However, this is nothing to remark against it, as the slow progression allows for even more guitar harmonics and distortion to come creeping into the mix.
bassAliens: While your ears are still ringing from the first song, bassAliens opens with unidentifiable dripping noises, soft washes of ambience, and mournful guitar pickings. This song gives credit to Sunn O)))'s claim of being "power ambience", as the song is very unsettling and abstract. The song definitely has an 'alien atmosphere' about it, as soon odd mechanical noises, buzzes, and hum throb intermitantly, while occasionaly bass stabs shatter the uncertain calm with bursts of noise that sound somewhat like radio interference. Also important is that, in many parts of the song, the high end is just as punishing as the low. Everything but the kitchen sink (and drums and vocals) seems to be in here...
Decay2 [Nihil's Maw]: If you were to guess this would be a song based on destruction, sin, and death, you would be absolutely correct! While (like the previous track) there is very little riffage in this track, it exudes malevolence from every pore. Opening with high-pitched squeals and heavy ambient wind, it 'soon' emerges with vocals (from Mayhem vocalist Attila Csihar) taken from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, a portion of the Indian Veda: one of the world's oldest religious texts (indeed one of the earliest recorded texts in human history as well). Growled, whispered, and grimly intoned, the vocals deal with humanity's decline during the Kali-Yuga (the final age of humanity before the cleansing of the Earth). It is a powerful and medatiative piece, incredible even for Sunn O))) standards.
Like much of doom/drone music, Sunn O))) is one of those projects where you either 'get it' or you do not. Even with only three songs, "White2" is an impressive album, completely uninhibited by commercial tendencies, with a refreshingly new concept and execution. Highly reccomended, especially for those new to the group.
NOTE: Edited from the previous version. Removed the now unneccesary over-explanation at the introduction of the blog.
Southern Lord Records