Earth – Primitive and Deadly (Review)

EarthEarth are from the US and this is their eighth album.

Primitive and Deadly – a great title and possibly a good description, although I’d favour monolithic and intelligent as a better one, (description, certainly not title).

Earth have created an impressively realised down-beat soundscape on this album. After a fair few releases that were very minimalistic and largely on the softer/acoustic scale of things, on Primitive and Deadly they flesh out the sound a bit more, featuring more prominent drums and electric guitar.

The core Earth sound is here and the band’s riffs are intimately familiar, like a long lost friend. Earth have always held somewhat of a hypnotic fascination for me. It’s the kind of music that you can easily lose yourself in. Total immersion music.

The entrancing melodies and slowly unwinding structures belie a thoughtful songcrafting process. This is without a doubt the heaviest Earth album I’ve heard, but it doesn’t detract from the recognisable and innately inner quality that’s 100% Earth.

After a lot of instrumental work on their last few albums it’s also nice, and a little surprising, to hear some vocals included in this release also. Male vocals make an appearance in the second track There is a Serpent Coming and are soulful and dripping with emotion. They instantly remind me of Soulsavers, which is a good thing as it’s Mark Lanegan who does vocals for both. He reappears once more on Rooks Across the Gates with another sterling performance.

Female vocals make an appearance on the third track From the Zodiacal Light courtesy of Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows. She’s not someone I’m familiar with, which is something I’ll have to rectify as she has a textured, luxurious voice that sits atop Earth’s hazy, pondering music like the tastiest of sugary treats.

Overall this is a bigger, grander Earth than ever before. Primitive and Deadly is fully-realised and an even richer experience than their already very-high-quality minimalistic work. It’s a revelation to hear a band like this flex their musical muscles and add to their central identity whilst simultaneously keeping their core sound intact.

Flawless and essential; for all fans of everything Doom.

Malpractice – Turning Tides (Review)

MalpracticeMalpractice are from Finland and play Progressive Metal. This is their fourth album.

On first listen you think, “Wow, this is really good!”, and on subsequent listens you realise that it just keeps getting better and better.

The singer has a voice that drips off the songs like liquid silk. His voice is effortlessly melodic and flawlessly delivered. Power and emotion seem to come easily to him and his voice acts as a real focal point to these energetic and emotive songs.

Malpractice have a clean, minimalistic sound that captures all of the nuances and power of the songs. The tracks are all skilfully crafted and revolve around the clear voice of the singer and the masterful rhythm guitar work.

These guitars really do provide a lot of energetic feeling to the tracks and it’s really easy to get carried along with their obvious fervour and passion. They don’t slouch in the solo/lead department either, with plenty of dazzling fretwork to capture the attention.

Reference points? Think somewhere between Threshold and Queensrÿche.

This is a very impressive album from a band who have clearly refined their art over the years. There are no missteps here and every song has something to offer. If you like catchy, well-performed Progressive Metal then you could do a lot worse than checking out this album.

This really is a stunner. Top marks.