On their eighth studio full-length, Earth get back to the brass tacks of their metal methodology after spending the majority of their last four records draping the band’s sound in cinematic melancholy.
While the six songs on Primitive and Deadly don’t exactly throw it back to the crushing doom drone of their primordial beginnings 25 years ago, the lengthy guitar epics that bookend this record, “Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon” and “Badgers Bane,” do constitute the heaviest Earth has been consistently since reforming a decade ago. This time, however, it is with the help of new bassist Bill Herzog of Sunn O))) and cameos from Built to Spill’s Brett Nelson and mathcore outfit Narrows’ Jodie Cox.
But the real surprise on Primitive and Deadly is the presence of vocals for the first time since 1996′s Pentastar: In the Style of Demons. Founding members Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davies couldn’t have found two more appropriate voices than Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi. Lanegan, who lends his brooding croon to “There is a Serpent Coming” and “Rooks Across the Gates,” and Qazi, of the Pacific Northwest’s premiere psych outfit Rose Windows, conjures Broken English-era Marianne Faithfull in all the ways Metallica should have across the 11-and-a-half-minute blues stomp “From the Zodiacal Light.” Primitive and Deadly ushers in an exciting new phase for Earth by collapsing its entire quarter-century existence into one slow-burning boom of creation.