Reviews Earth Hibernaculum



It is not often that a band is willing to revisit prior recorded works in a new musical style. With Hibernaculum, the lauded Earth do just that. However, they do more than just rehash old material. Dylan Carlson and company instead breathe new life into the songs and gives listeners, fans, and interested parties a striking bridge between the "louder," noisier material and that of the modern incarnation of the band. As an additional bonus to the package, Southern Lord includes a DVD documentary about Earth by Seldon Hunt covering their European jaunt with the band's progeny, Sunn 0))).

The original version of "Ouroboros is Broken," found on the Earth album Extra-Capsular Extraction is a brooding, seething monster of a song. It is massive sounding and has an explosive gong that adds quite a bit of dynamic explosiveness to the proceedings. The Hibernaculum version of "Ouroboros is Broken" quickly shows that one can expect more of the music in the vein of Earth's last album, Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method. The eerie factor is very high and the clean, crisp feel lends a subtle beauty to the new arrangement while still maintaining the brooding nature of the original. The new version also is more abbreviated being less than half the length of the original.

"Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor" continues with the Morricone-esque sounds that Carlson displays in his most recent work. The slide guitars and piano parts give this arrangement a bit more of a dynamic than "Ouroboros is Broken." The slide guitars, in particular, create swells in the music that crash like waves on a distant shore. The original version of the song (found on Pentastar: In the Style of Demons) is more fuzzed out and has less of a dynamic arrangement; the slide guitar swells are not there and serves to show the sly growth that Carlson has undergone as a musician. The Hammond part in the original is rather excellent and the guitar solo adds much to the overall feel of the original track.

The opening piano strains of "Miami Morning Coming Down" juxtapose with the guitar rather well in a call and response part. The guitars actually are a bit distorted on this track, which comes as a bit of a surprise but is nowhere near unwelcome. It works real well and is real understated. It is a simple song, but it is real good.

"A Plague of Angels" can be found on the Angel Coma split 12" with Sunn 0))). For those unlucky people that were not able to track down a copy of that, Earth thankfully includes it here. I enjoy this song immensely. The low volume ambient noise that augments the percussion and the guitars definitely adds an atmosphere and depth to the track. There is a deep droning sound coming from a tuba or sousaphone that is oddly soothing and lays down an excellent bottom for the rest of the band. The song progresses fluidly and makes excellent use of sound to create a dynamic piece of music that is both quiet and bombastic.

The DVD portion of this release straddles the line between art film and documentary. The candid interviews with Dylan Carlson and company give some insight into not only the writing process of Earth but also the aims. Carlson's discussion on tonality and his ideas behind droning guitar notes are enlightening and make a great deal of sense. This section of the DVD actually was very striking and resonates with me now even after having several viewings of the piece. The quality of the video is pretty good with bits of live performances interspersed with aforementioned interview sections and the obligatory travel scenes.

One of the aspects that drew me to Earth is the manner in which Dylan Carlson wields his guitar like a paintbrush. Using broad strokes or thin crisp lines, he adds color and depth and subtle shading to his compositions. There are really few musicians that I can say the same things about their style of play. Hibernaculum continues to provide more examples of Carlson and company's unique vision. If I am forced to choose between the original versions of these songs and the ones found here on Hibernaculum, I would be unable to do so. The takes found here have a completely different feel than the originals, but they are almost completely different. In my opinion, one should just procure Earth's entire catalog. But, that is just my opinion.

8.8 / 10Bob
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8.8 / 10

8.8 / 10

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