Earth: The Sound of Desert-Swept Doom

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Engine of Ruin"
  • Artist: Earth
  • CD: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
  • Genre: Instrumental Rock
Earth 300

Eternally influenced by Black Sabbath, Earth crafts thick, foreboding instrumental music. courtesy of Earth hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of Earth

The band Earth got its start in the early '90s, specializing in the drones of experimental feedback — like Black Sabbath with fewer notes and no drummer. When the band re-formed after a lengthy hiatus a few years ago, the Sabbath influence remained, but the heavy distortion was gone.

In "Engine of Ruin," leader Dylan Carlson and his crew plod through noir-Americana like outlaw jazz improvisers on their way to collect a bounty. The instrumental, desert-swept narrative sounds hauntingly evocative, but it's the thick, foreboding tone of a rusty Telecaster that links Earth's doom-laden discography.

Perhaps recognizing the amount of space provided by Earth's work, legendary jazz guitarist Bill Frisell shows up as a guest in "Engine of Ruin." Its slow-burning improvisation provides a perfect jumping-off point for Frisell, who's no stranger to roots music. Ever the consummate player, he knows when to scale back his contribution, yet still churns out one of the most fried solos of his career. Listening to the entirety of The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, it's clear that Earth should score Hollywood's next revenge-fueled Western, a film genre finally returning to its doomsday-themed origins.

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