I was certainly intrigued by this latest Earth album. Although their newer stuff has been more Americana—not that there’s anything wrong with that—advance singles offa this one indicate somewhat of a return to heaviness. And that includes not one but two guest vocalists, with one being Mark Lanegan. Actually, I’m not sure if they’ve had any guest voices before…
Anyhoo, the album opens with the verbose (in name, anyways) “Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon,” which is perhaps more deadly than primitive. I have not heard these kinds of doom-metal riffs from Dylan Carlson in quite some time, and with the pounding percussion to match! But the nine-minute number still retains a slight melodic edge, a soft tinkling amidst all the pummeling. “There is a Serpent Coming” leans a little more towards drone (Quelle surprise!), but there are distinguishable note patterns here, not just harsh noise and feedback. And Lanegan makes his presence felt with a cool, eerie vocal that adds a haunting air to the proceedings, sounding just a little bit like Ian Astbury on Boris’ BXI EP.
“From the Zodiacal Light” has a similar shuffling style to the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light duo, or perhaps a similar outfit like Across Tundras or USX. Another vocal appearance by Lanegan, which gives way to the feminine phrasings of Rabia Shaheen Qazi, is the giveaway that it’s not from one of those albums. Hell, this tune is downright catchy! “Even Hell Has its Heroes” also has a slight country twang, but it’s played at a super-slow pace, like Mountain on some serious downers, or Sons of OTIS playing “The Pusher” (which they’ve actually covered, FYI).
“Rooks Across the Gates” and “Badgers Bane” take us into the homestretch with some similarly low ‘n slow fare, downtuned country rock, each ending with a slice of drone. There are really no more than a handful of artists serving up this dish… and none do it better than Earth.