Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Southern Lord Records

I am not a fan of any type of metal. Speed, thrash, black metal, it’s all terrible to me. So when I initially saw the press release for the new album by Earth, I deleted it and moved on. Then I started hearing really good things about it. NPR streamed the entire album before its release. I thought, “Why would NPR stream a metal album? Aren’t they more into folksy type of music?” Then I went to Metacritic and found that other writers were giving the album almost universal acclaim. Then I was intrigued. So I took a listen to it and found out two things: 1. This album is not for those with short attention spans. 2. This is the soundtrack of the apocalypse.

Only five tracks long, this album, to those impatient ones, plods along at a slow drone, challenging the metronome to go slower. But the more you listen to it (especially the magnum opus title track, which clocks in at a shade under 21 minutes), the more you realize that this is what will be heard over the lone loudspeaker when the world ends. Destruction, devastation, and hopelessness slowly encompass you the more you listen. The slow rumble of the bassline, the guitar chords that are almost painfully strummed, and the drums that tie it all together make this the best metal album I’ve ever heard.

Maybe it’s because it doesn’t fall into any of the aforementioned categories. Maybe it’s because the entire album is instrumental, so there is no idiot screaming his voice raw. Maybe it’s because I haven’t yet received a headache after numerous listens. Or maybe this album isn’t metal or classifiable for that matter. Maybe Earth has taken everything that (most) metal is (dark, depressing, hopeless) and made it accessible to the mainstream. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make one of the best albums of the year.


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