Earth

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, Vol. 2

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The second volume in Earth's Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light series is an extension of its predecessor's experiments, though it is far more fluid and improvisatory. Where the sounds on Vol. 1 opened up with the sonorous arid soundscapes of The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull -- which were already a marked departure from the early feedback-drenched power drone of Earth's earliest incarnation -- so too does this set, recorded during the same two sessions as its immediate predecessor, showcasing an even more experimental side to the band not heard since Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method from 2005. Comprised of five tunes, deceptive restraint is the name of the game on AODDOL 2. "Sigil of Brass" is an intimate, nearly melodic improvisation between Dylan Carlson's guitar and Lori Goldston's cello. The nine-plus-minute "His Teeth Did Brightly Shine" is a long desert blues that exists as a dialogue largely between Carlson's multi-tracked guitar and Karl Blau's electric bass, with scant moments of percussion on the fringes. Carlson explores blues drones in standard and slide tunings. Finally, on "Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)," the entire band enters. Adrienne Davies' drums (which are looser, freer, and more intuitive here than on any previous Earth album) shimmer and shake, they approach a waltz tempo but play through it. Blau's bassline holds with Carlson's guitar vamp, and Goldston's cello plays various melodic strains above and below the proceedings. She plays on these riff patterns, exploring the various sonorities inherent in the interplay between guitar and bass. Carlson eventually finds his middle and high strings, but haltingly, letting them hang in the air for Goldston to adorn with another series of solo statements. Gradually, the entire piece finds a lyric frame, intensifying in dynamic and layering textures. Carlson even touches on some country phrases to open and illuminate the rhythm section's deliberate restraint. He pulls out his best "Cortez the Killer"-era Neil Young on "The Corascene Dog," and Goldston responds with a hovering drone above him. Closing track "The Rakehell" also toys with blues phrasing, though its Western American desert soundscape is nearly cinematic. Vamps are touched on, explored, and abandoned in layers. All four members are fully engaged. Make no mistake, this music might creep and slither in places, and it may be full of spaciousness and air, but heavy in mood, feel, and sensation, because for all its melodic improvisation, it broods, the clarity in its mix highlighting that. Throughout AODDOL 2, we are hearing a freer Earth which sounds like a band more than ever before, one that seems to hold almost limitless potential. This is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor and, for all of its lyric harmonic explorations, even darker.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:32
2 9:00
3 13:04
4 8:26
5 11:50
blue highlight denotes track pick