Thick, monotonous and more nauseating and doom-laden than a yew-berry smoothie, Earth’s first LP ‘Earth 2’ pioneered the annoyingly labelled “drone doom” genre. Most so-called drone doom records in fact are so much more than this; I personally prefer the description, “power-ambient”, coined by Earth protegee’s Sunn O))). For this particular record though, drone doom could hardly be more appropriate; amongst churning layers of feedback and rumbling delay, you can just about detect a riff roaring in the background, like someone wound a bin-liner round a lion’s mouth. Despite the huge influence this album garnered and how pioneering it was in making ambient music with guitars, the gloopy sludge that gushes from the speakers is so headache-inducing that it should come with a voucher for asprin. In fact, if you open up the CD booklet, you’ll see a wide selection of pills. I recommend you take a fistful of the illegal ones if you want to listen to this that badly, and a fistful of paracetamol if you don’t take the necessary precautions. The three tracks that make up ‘Earth 2’ collectively contain around four or five riffs, all repeated over and over again until they’re drowned into muddy walls of sound. It all goes on for far too long and even as an ambient record the majority of it falls flat, but I find it hard not to admire it. The claustrophobic atmospheres are extremely effective; everything is destructive, scattering debris in its path. The main problem is that it all goes on for far too long and its painfully one-note. The closing track ‘Like Gold And Faceted’ is largely made up of one long drone with extra details appearing occasionally, sounding like the hum of some huge planet-sized machine and the effect is oddly lulling but frustrating and bland.
Ditching the formula of their debut album, Earth’s latest LP, ‘The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull’ could well be the best guitar-ambient album ever. This is no such masterpiece. Like John Cage’s “piece” ‘4’33″‘ (consisting of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence), ‘Earth 2’ should be admired for its bravery and daring. It should also be noted that it invented a new genre. It’s a record to be admired for its determined individuality, not because it’s in any way enjoyable or interesting, because it’s neither. In fact it’s often just plain horrible.
Key Track: Like Gold and Faceted
Listen to this: if you’re a masochistic drug user.