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Album Reviews : Earthless – Black Heaven

By on April 18, 2018

Time to crank the Himalayan Rock Salt lamps, enjoy a smooth American IPA and make yourself comfortable in your beanbag because Earthless have just released their new album, “Black Heaven.” Those familiar with the band will know to expect excellent riffs, tasteful shredding, groovy drum and bass work and masterful use of effect pedals. From the first few listens I found myself whistling the riffs to the opening track “Gifted by the Wind”. I’ve been listening to the album a lot these past few days and I feel like basically the whole thing is stuck in my head now, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The biggest change on this album is that the songs are shorter and most of them have vocals. I’ve seen Earthless a few times and I can remember there being vocals in at least one song, but for the most part, they have been completely instrumental. Previously, my favourite Earthless track was “Godspeed” from “Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky”. This is a track that goes for 20 minutes, so you sort of get lost in the jamming, forget about time and zone out in a very good way, this was my impression of what Earthless sounded like. With the songs off the new album being much shorter, I think they are more about rocking out and headbanging.

The vocals are a welcome addition to their music. Isaiah has a great voice and it suits their music perfectly. The riffing does not suffer or make way for the vocals at all. The addition of vocals has allowed them to explore slower and moodier feelings I’ve not heard from them before. The track “Sudden End” is a good example of this. The vocals convey some emotions that might be difficult with a guitar. Having said that, not every track features vocals. The tracks, “Volt Rush” and “Black Heaven” are completely instrumental. These tracks are faster than the rest and feel like classic Earthless jams.

The guitar tones seem to be expertly picked out. The fuzzes and distortions sound fantastic. Extremely clear and full. As I mentioned earlier, all the extra effects sound amazing. The beginning of the track “End to End” is a good example of this, strange delayed cosmic roars made with what I can only assume is an abused guitar. The end of the final track “Sudden End” makes for a great end to the album with the UFO sounding rotator or whatever it is. I love the tone of the solo in the track “Black Heaven” that begins at around the :50 mark. In fact the guitar and bass tone during this whole track is unreal. This is the track where they pull out all the stops and just go for it with the effects and the riffing. I have to say this is probably the track I would show someone if I wanted to introduce this album to them, and it makes sense that this would be the title track.

The guitar is definitely the centrepiece of the album. But the bass and the drumming cannot be overlooked. The bass is groovy, always driving the song forward. There are so many interesting bass lines. A good example of this is towards the end of the track “End to End” while the guitar is screaming, the bass is underneath playing an unreal riff that keeps the groovy feel of the song together. During the solo I mentioned above in “Black Heaven”, the bass is distorted and is playing a riff that has become my favourite on the album. As for the drumming: what a performance. Interesting and groovy patterns that compliment the intricate guitar and bass work. I love the snare sound too, it’s very clear and not overly reverberated. The track “Volt Rush” I feel really lets you hear how good the drum kit sounds and the tightness of the playing.

This has been a very positive, ass kissing review, but I really enjoyed this album and don’t really have anything bad to say about it. If you are into fantastic psychedelic riffing and overall great musicianship I completely recommend this album to you. If you get a chance to see these guys live, go for it because their live show is one I’d never miss no matter how many times I see them.

Band: Earthless
Album: Black Heaven
Year: 2018
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: USA

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