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Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

on February 13, 2012, 7:59am

In an interview last year, Earth‘s driving force, Dylan Carlson, told Consequence of Sound that the second volume of Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light would be more of a “just roll tape and play” than the carefully-composed first volume. Recorded in a the same two-week stretch as last year’s record, II is indeed a looser, more relaxed trod through Earth’s murky, cavernous instrumental depths.

This jammy, exploratory vibe is best represented in the 18-minute “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)”, which was regularly worked into setlists during the band’s recent tour. Like on this record’s predecessor, Carlson’s guitar work is accompanied again by the stylings of cellist Lori Goldston, who coats the bottom floor of the album with a deep, sweeping low end that would normally be filled by a bass hum or amplifier noise in the regular Earth ouevre. Carlson and Goldston demonstrate a great improvisational chemistry here, and it’s actually the cellist who gets to cut loose the most. The album’s other four tracks rely more on a meditative repetition, particularly in “Sigil of Brass” and closer “The Rakehell”, each building with gradually-changing patterns.

Carlson says he drew his inspiration for this duo of albums from classic British folk-rock acts such as Fairport Convention and Pentangle, and if you listen closely enough to the lusher tracks, you’ll hear it. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II has more in common, tonally, with those than it does with any records from Earth’s drone-pioneering past. This album’s not metal, but it’s still heavy as all get-out. It’s also incredibly beautiful and soothing– perfect music for laid-back late-night hours.

Essential track: “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)”

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