Reviews Earth Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method

Earth

Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method

Opening with a sound not unlike some kind of spaghetti western death knell, Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, the comeback album of noise mongers Earth, shocks the old time listeners of the band. Anyone who has heard Earth 2 or Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars will tell you that. But, the mastermind behind Earth, Dylan Carlson, is known for throwing people for a proverbial loop. It would be hard to say that he holed himself up somewhere listening to Ennio Morricone soundtracks or wrote this new album as a tribute to Morricone's work, but the comparison between Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method and say the soundtrack to the Clint Eastwood movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly would not be far off. Earth offer up nine gloomy tracks of fantastic musical imagery. This is an album through and through as it is nigh impossible to not listen to the whole record from start to finish. It really is akin to watching a movie.

Having been a fan of their previous work and also being leery of bands attempting to reunite, I listened to the record in jaw dropping awe the first time. I mean, they have influenced more than a few of the current crop of doom/drone groups. So, I was kind of expecting them to try and bulldoze back to reclaim their crown. Instead, they expanded their repertoire and really outdid themselves by writing an album that subtly attacks the listener's subconscious. Using a surprisingly clean guitar tone on most of the record instead of suffocating with walls of feedback, Carlson truly draws an emotional response by using auxiliary instrumentation like trombones and pedal steel guitars to affect the music. In track six, 'An Inquest Concerning Teeth', I was mystified by their use of Asian sounding instrumentation leading into a rather hopeful sounding section that could be mistaken for a country western balladeer's solo. The absolutely ominous change in 'Raiford (The Felon Wind)' is breathtaking and serves as a bit of a climax for the record.

Quite honestly, I was only mildly interested in this new record because of my reservations regarding their getting back together. But, it must be said that I was blown away by how much it struck me, the extent with which I connected with the album. Not only does it have a sound filled with a feeling mind numbingly gloom, but it throws in brief respites of stark beauty that keeps the listener on their toes and engrossed in the album.

8.5 / 10Bob
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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