Ben Winch's Album Review
They tell me Earth is metal. If so, metal has changed. Hibernaculum, in its own subtle, seamless way, is virtually a genre mash-up, with its blues inflexions, organ lines, piano and soft-minimal drumming; there’s even a touch of country in there! “Post-metal”, then? Because, don’t get me wrong, I hear the metal in it, in the “eastern” Dorian-like scales and chugging guitar-parts and fat distortion pedals (though again, these are subtle, in places turned down about as far as they could be without disappearing altogether). Not one guitar solo either, and track #4 (“A Plague of Angels”) is 15 minutes long! That’s some kind of achievement. But maybe just as important in the genre-bending stakes is the mood. It’s dark, but virtually without aggression, which to me opens up new territory in the field of metal. Not to mention the absence of vocals—what a revelation! You can lose yourself to it: write, meditate, wash the dishes, make love, and—now and again—glimpse the light. To me, Earth transcends metal, like Slint transcends punk. I file them together under rare experiments with guitars, bass and drums. Hibernaculum came out in 2007; Dylan Carlson is (as of late 2017) 49 years old and founded Earth in 1989; but this, to me, is new, a small but significant clue toward a possible future of rock.