Earthless, From the Ages

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 10.08.13 in Reviews
Instrumental music that’s in no way just for the background

Are you strapped in and sitting comfortably? Good. Because as anyone who’s heard this band’s previous studio albums — 2005′s Sonic Prayer and 2007′s Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky — can tell you, that’s really the only way to experience an Earthless record. Though the muscular San Diego power trio’s latest opus is a strictly instrumental affair, this isn’t background music in any way, shape or form; rather, it’s a hard-rock thrill ride that demands your undivided attention for every one of its 65 face-melting minutes. Despite the band’s name, Earthless remain primarily terra firma-bound on From the Ages; like Cream, Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience before them — or maybe more appropriately, late-’60s Japanese free-blues acolytes like the Flower Traveling Band or Speed, Glue & Shinki — they take the elemental building blocks of blues rock and pile them high with feedback and wah-wah solos to form sky-kissing psychedelic pyramids and temples. Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell is the obvious focal point here, at least until you begin to realize how beautifully locked-in bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba are with him (and each other), and how the three players never lose focus or intensity for a second — not even during the roiling 30-minute title track. If hard-swinging grooves, monumental riffs and mind-frying distortion sounds like your cup of mushroom tea, then From the Ages is definitely for you.