Review: EARTH-“Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II”

By Lane Oliver

I recently got my hands on one of my much anticipated albums of 2012. That album would be Earth’s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II. Recorded in the same two week period as the Angels I, Angels II continues where its predecessor left of and expands upon it as well.

One thing I noticed right off the bat was the songs were a little shorter. This time the longest track is thirteen minutes instead of twenty minutes like on Angels I. The overall album length is shorter as well, which may make it a little more accessible for people. Angels II starts off with the short, three minute “Sigil of Brass”. This track beautifully empty and eases you into the long dirges to come. It features a brightly sounding clean guitar that plays minor chords in three to four note intervals through it section. The guitar is left ringing and its warm humming will invoke a sense of relaxation. The cellist barely grumbles out a few drones here and there and the drummer takes a break aside from a distant few cymbal hits. The main focus on this track is the guitar who softly repeats in sonic ecstasy until the end. The next track, “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine” is of a drastic departure from what you heard on Angels I. This song is very psychedelic sounding. The main guitar is alive with a warm, slightly fuzzy tone that comfortable plays through a cavalcade of infectious, folk like riffs. But the other guitar present is equipped with a slide and is used to create odd swirling sounds that make this song a real acid trip. You get accustomed to this very chill riffing and then you get these weird rapid sliding sounds and bends and you’re thrown through a loop. It’s a slightly quirky sounding but it works. “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)” recalls to the first installment of this two part album series. It’s slightly dark sounding but not as dark as any of the material on Angels I. I definitely noticed the guitar’s tone is not as big and brash sounding on this record as opposed to the first. The tone is warmer as I said and has a more laid back sound. “Waltz” is amuck with Earth’s trademark repetitive droning structures. Since the guitar is not as in your face as Angels I, this is a chance for the cello to shine. The guitars repeat a very infectious, dark western like riff that is just dripping with sawdust from the saloon floor. While the guitars drone on at a relaxing pace, the cello lets loose with grumbling drones and wails of intense passion. This is the longest song on the record, clocking in at just over thirteen minutes but it is so inviting and addicting that you just get lost in the sound. A lot, if not all, of Earth’s music is like that. “The Corascene Dog” continues along this path except that it’s a lot shorter (little over eight minutes) and the cello takes a back seat so the guitar and bass can rule your ears. The album ends with the eleven twelve minute long “The Rakehell”. The drums open this track with a simple yet concise drum groove that bounces along for twelve minutes with little variations here and there. The guitars are playing these very bluesy (and kind of funky) riffs that rumble along and can cause any foot to tap without their owner’s consent. One of the guitars is also equipped with a light flanger effect that gives the song an almost, Pink Floyd-ish feel if you will. “The Rakehell” is the most rock oriented of the five tracks and is a great way to end such an album.

Drone bands (like Earth, Sunn O))), etc) are bands that I have to be in a certain mood to listen to. So I was surprised that I listened to this record over five times since the day I received the promotional copy (which was Monday). This is probably one of Earth’s finest recordings. It’s so infectious and aurally pleasing that I haven’t been able to stop jamming it. Sure, it’s definitely not as “heavy” as the first installment but it sure is a lot more diverse and easier to listen to. Of course, I wish they had a “heavier” song like “Old Black” on here but this album was obviously made with a set feeling in mind so it probably would have sidetracked this much focused album.

As I said, this is one of Earth’s better releases. The music is very slow and not heavy at all so if you’re a punk purist or the like, you may or may not enjoy it. But I suggest you guys give it a shot when it is officially released on February 14th through Southern Lord. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II is an addicting, droning beast that will rumble through your measly head for weeks to come.

Rating: 9/10

Label: Southern Lord

Favorite Tracks: “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine”, “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors”

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