Album of the day: Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I

Lovingly pinched from The Obelisk: At this point, 21 years into a massively influential career (if the band was a person, that person would be able to drink legally), Olympia, Washington, drone champions Earth are really only comparable to themselves. Guitarist / bandleader Dylan Carlson, whose work has set more ships sailing than did Helen of Troy, continues ceaselessly to refine and redefine Earth’s sound, working with a range of players and adopting conceptual aesthetics on a by-album basis.

Earth’s latest hour-long opus, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (Southern Lord) continues a line of remarkably strong outings, started with the band’s 2005 studio revival, Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method and continued on both the 2007 Hibernaculum EP of re-recorded earlier material and 2008’s brilliant The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull full-length. Fans of those offerings will recognize some elements on Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I, but as ever, Earth have maintained their penchant for subtle sonic shifts that wind up making a huge difference in their overall affect.

Earth’s music is like a sentence that does the work of a paragraph. Joining Carlson on Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I are longtime drummer Adrienne Davies and newcomers Karl Blau on electric bass (Angelina Baldoz will play live) and cellist Lori Goldston, who makes her mark on the album immediately on opener “Old Black.” A rocker by Earth standards, “Old Black” isn’t so far removed from the Americana vibes of Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, but the bare minimalism of that record is replaced by a fullness of sound brought on by the inclusion of bass and most especially the cello, which runs a naturalistic drone in long-held notes playing beneath the guitar and drums.

Goldston runs her own lines for sure, accompanying rather than following Dylan’s guitar as Blau mostly does on bass, and making the songs all the more lush and engaging. The purported concept behind Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I was a partial paean to British acid folk, and listening to “Old Black” or the closing title track, I could almost hear a Sandy Denny-type of voice over the material, though a song like “Father Midnight,” which follows the opener, is most exemplary of Earth’s own work over the last six years.

Continue reading: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I: A New Dawn for Earth | The Obelisk.

(Courtesy of JJ Koczan / The Obelisk)

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 at 6:38 pm and is filed under 2011, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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