Earth “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II”

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I dropped on 2011 like some ugly orphan that had been left out  for too long in the sun. Sticking out like a razor blade in the soup, this record made people pay attention and briefly ignore the house and psuedo-producer resurgence  that characterised most of last year. For those who don’t know the band, Earth make mournful instrumental desert rock, that is long and definitely repetitive.  Saying all that the record still had it’s problems. For starters, that cello sound, though initially captivating, was overused, and far too dominating in the mix. Secondly, while the album is clearly intended to be long, and subsequently repetitive, slab of desert rock, the record never really built upon the clear ideas running through the project and it felt half-done. Now a year has gone by, and with the apocalypse upon us,  this drone symphony is in need of a brother.

From the cover of Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II it is obvious that many of the same themes of the first record are likely to be explored further. “Sigil the Bass” opens the record up, centering around this simple plucked guitar lead that builds up once again to that desolate cello sound that made up much of the first installment. Clocking in at a mere three and a half minutes, this is restrained by Earth’ s standards, and hints at a possible bridge between the two records.  Thankfully that cello doesn’t hang around for long. “His Teeth Old Brightly Shrine” recalls again this crude reinterpretation of surf guitar that has grown to characterise the sound of the band. What this track, and many of the epics in Earth’s roster, tend to do is transcend time. We aren’t talking about some scientific marvel here, but this record plays on the beauty of repetition, and the way that drone music, like is a slow, but powerful machine that you can’t help to stick around for.

The ryhthm changes on the third track, but that cello once again appears. “A Multiplicity of Doors” reunites Earth once again with the sound on …Demons of Light I , and perhaps in it’s name and style is a play on the  confines and conservatism of Doom/Sludge/Stoner metal, and the need these bands have to play loud and heavy to shock an audience (lets not forget that Earth began as the pioneers of this sound, influencing Sunn 0))) and countless others to the power of black drone) but that’s fishing for complients. Saying that, you would be hard pressed to notice many differences between “The Coascene Dog” and “The Rakehell”. Each track begins with the solitary thud of the drums, and again lurches into that familiar quaadlude surf groove (albeit minus the cello in The Rakehell”). As you can probably tell, reviewing a record of this nature is difficult, and relies on many stock phrases and adjectives to portray the desolation and minimalism of these ballads.  Forty five minutes later and I can’t help but feel dissapointed. While I expected correlations from the first record, I simply didn’t excpect it to be SO similar. Instead of a darker, and progressive follow up,  what we have here is dare I say it, a waste of time?  Not a waste of time musically, but in the project altogether. Why did there need to be two installments? I can’t seem to find an answer. Overall this is a good listen, but one that I don’t imagine I’ll be returning to often. Dissapointing is all I can say. I feel like crying.

Alex Hall

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