Earth, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

Evan Minsker

By Evan Minsker

on 02.14.12 in Reviews
A careful and deliberate addition to a wordless, breathtaking narrative

Dylan Carlson’s Earth carried the torch for fuzzy, ominous drone metal throughout the ’90s and ’00s – the early-days compilation A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction is a fine example of what they were capable of. And while last year’s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I was one hour of expansive, contemplative drone, it owed more to Neil Young and Ennio Morricone than to the group’s metal foundation. Demons of Light II, the second part of a two-volume series, is a natural extension of the last record: It features the same players, a similar atmosphere, and most prominently, it showcases Carlson’s knack for minimalism. The man isn’t a show-off by any stretch – opener “Sigil of Brass” points to his spare delivery – but each note resonates with the spectre of “the loner.” It’s a feeling perpetuated by rattlesnake percussion and mournful, echoing Old West riffs, and it’s made even more powerful when encased by Lori Goldston’s lush cello, Adrienne Davies’s shimmering percussion and Karl Blau’s bass. In an interview last year, Carlson said that for the second volume, there wouldn’t be as much structure – that they would just “hit the tape and play” – but nothing here ever feels off the cuff. From the patient, elegiac “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)” to the paced, organic groove of “The Rakehell,” every note, echo, and beat sounds like a careful and deliberate addition to the wordless, breathtaking Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light narrative.