- Seven Angels
- Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine Part 1
- Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine Part 2
- Like Gold and Faceted Part 1
- Like Gold and Faceted Part 2
Release Date: May 23, 2006
Label: Sub Pop Records
Extra-Capsular Extraction was a milestone in drone-doom, and all the ingredients of the genre were already there: slow, heavy riffing, extremely minimal song structures, and brain-numbing repetition on into eternity. Coupled with heavy, thwacking percussion, the listening experience was immensely claustrophobic, akin to being forced into a tiny hole.
Earth 2 is where drone-doom, and Earth's vision for it, really came together. It is still slower, deeper, more minimal and more eternally droning than its predecessor. If Extra-Capsular Extraction was being forced into a hole then Earth 2 is emerging out the other side, to drift into the infinite empty blackness of some other universe.
As with most of Earth's output, in particular among their first 5 or so releases, Earth 2 is not for everyone, and anybody who doesn't find it a sublime experience on first listen probably never will. The first time I heard this album, it was through loud speakers at night and--it bears noting--while quite stoned. I had had no idea what to expect, though before this time I'd become fond of sunn O))) and most likely was expecting something similar. Although Earth 2 does somewhat resemble sunn O)))'s early records (unsurprisingly, given that sunn O))) were so inspired by Earth) the fact of the matter is that Earth 2 isn't like anything I've ever heard in my life, and is truly its own animal. The album is divided into 3 tracks, although they flow wonderfully together and in an entranced state of close listening one will barely notice. Certainly there is no way to listen to Earth 2 except all at once, and with a fair degree of attention to the flow of the music--not an easy task, it may seem, for something as minimal as this.
And yet in the right setting (right volume setting, that is) Earth 2 really does command the attention that it needs, creating a thundering dirge that sucks in everything in the room, including and especially the ugly thoughts which may have been plaguing you that day. The music in this album is meant not just to be heard, but to be felt, too, in the physical sense (this is truly a beast with the right speakers) but also for the strangely captivating, mind-cleansing effect it has. Drone metal has always been about atmosphere, and in 73 massive, plodding minutes Earth 2 manages to create a hell of a lot of it.
"Seven Angels" is the closest anything on the album comes to an actual song, with a surprisingly fast riff and even a "bridge" of sorts. However, it has no vocals or percussion and is 15 minutes long so a pop single it is not. Some have complained that the riff breaks the drone too much; I find that it works to the opposite effect. While the riff chugs onward, over and over, a loud, humming drone grinds away in the background, unchanging, until the riff becomes part of the drone. Partway through the song the riffing comes to a stop and the song slows, through the same drone continues unabated, and when the riffing picks up again much later it is not immediately noticeable under the force of the drone.
At the very end, "Seven Angels" rises and then is consumed under a hissing fog of radio noise until it is cut short and "Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine" begins. The kid gloves are off and Earth 2 is no longer fucking around with anything resembling traditional song structures or riffs, instead giving over to the more experimental side of music. "Teeth of Lions" is close to a half-hour long, and in that time progresses, though veeeerrrrry gradually, through various slowly winding patterns of guitar fuzz. The harsh drone of the previous track has receded, though "Teeth of Lions" is no less heavy and the groan of the guitars more than fills in for it. After an indeterminate amount of time, the last notes of "Teeth of Lions" draw down to one hum, and "Like Gold and Faceted" begins. This is the longest song on the album, and possibly the ultimate realization of what "drone metal" really is. The song is a drone in the purest sense, one single note carried on seemingly forever. Other notes will come in, there will be a feedback squeal here and there, perhaps a cymbal held in suspension for a while, but all fades back into the ether and the drone carries forth unfazed. All the while, the listener can hear percussion, just barely audible, as if coming from another room or even one's own imagination, carrying on in the background. After what feels like forever, the drone slowly fades into silence, a last distant squeal of feedback plays, and the album ends.
Earth 2 is an amazing experience and I've had the pleasure of listening to it multiple times (mostly without any "enhancements" I must observe). The album is not only meditative, but perhaps the most deserving of the name "Earth" of any piece of music ever made. One imagines the entire history of the Earth itself, glaciers moving, continents drifting, mountains rising and then disappearing into dust, entire civilizations coming and going, all ultimately to reach oblivion in the far distant future. It makes for a meditative and strangely captivating listen, and bears little in common with anything we think of as "metal" save for its utter grandiosity and of course distorted guitars. It's difficult to objectively validate the appeal to anybody who doesn't like it (none of my friends did), especially since the music has so few components one can critique in the first place, and so I can leave you as the reader only with the impressions it left on me and my good word that it is awesome. - StupidBunny (Metal-Archives.com Ju;y 17, 2014)