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Earth: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 

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When Dylan Carlson released Earth's first full-length, Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version in 1993, he and Dave Harwell took Sabbath riffs and deconstructed them into an unforgiving dragging force. This album would go on to spawn a legion of metal subgenres, most notably, drone metal.

After two decades, Earth 2 still inspires sludge metal minions and is beaming with a newfound hipster approval rating. If you're an original fan of Earth, I apologize. Even as a music obsessive, I struggle to make it through all three songs and 70 plus minutes of Earth 2. I can appreciate the originality, but the sub-tonal quality is too much for my head. I find myself gravitating toward Earth's most recent, non-metal affairs where Carlson's affinity for jazz, minimalist sound sculptures and slow Ennio Morricone compositions shine out.

Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull and this new one, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1, blend slow, ominous Americana while transporting the listener into an open land of gunslingers and evil doers. Angels is longer, but perhaps more refined than its predecessors. The music stretches itself beautifully (thanks to Lori Goldston's cello drones and Karl Blau's tangible bass lines), is surprisingly triumphant (Carlson's melodic riffs), and worth every calculated step (Adrienne Davis' mesmerizing drumming). Angels may not be blues infused like Hex or as sweet as Bees, but this is glory-bound music. If the cover art is anything to go off of, I'd say the minotaur took his time getting close enough to lance the neck of the oversized behemoth. The five songs on Angels are a testament to this. Whether you like your Earth heavy and dark, or sprinkled with Southwestern dust and blood from the bodies slain, their skyline is forever covered in victory.

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