posted on 6/2007 By:
Long-running drone pioneers Earth capitalize on the critically lauded Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method as well as provide a supersize appetizer for their forthcoming album, The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, with the CD/DVD combo Hibernaculum. The band has taken a trio of older tracks and reworked them in the Hex style, and produced the same tantalizing result. Also offered is "A Plague of Angels", previously available only on a 12" split. Expect slowly paced, sprawling instrumentals that conjure visions of dust bowls and the building tension prior to a Main Street shootout (“Ourobos Is Broken”) or of mellow sunbaked rides (“Miami Morning Coming Down”).
You can practically see the tumbleweeds blowing across the prairie (even occasionally between the often long, ringing notes), as Hibernaculum does a marvelous job of painting a vast open landscape that manages to be both peaceful and rustic and oppressive and unforgiving. Dylan Carlson’s winding, trail-worn guitar lines take center stage, but his stark, clean tones are skillfully supported by understated drums and bass, organ, mellotron, and even a little trombone. It all combines effectively to create a set of songs that have a reasonable amount of diversity and personality, given the album’s fairly narrow focus. The ominous moods of “Ouroboros is Broken” and the sixteen-minute closer “A Plague of Angels” (great title, huh) are balanced by the sleepy “Miami Morning Coming Down” and the gentle melodies draped across Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor”.
Hibernaculum also includes Seldon Hunt’s Within the Drone documentary, an hour-long film that chronicles Earth’s 2006 European tour. There are several interview segments with Carlson in which he discusses his views on drone and its deceptive structure, his motivations as a musician, and Earth’s recent evolution into a fully realized live band. Much of this footage is interesting the first time around, although a few of the segments are poorly recorded and pick up a lot of off camera conversations, making hard to hear Carlson, who’s not the most dynamic of speakers in the first place. The film also includes a good bit of live footage, although the interviews and performances are intermingled. This approach may have more creative merit from a film making perspective, but from the consumer viewpoint, it’s nice to be able to revisit the live songs without having the interviews in the middle. But overall, Hibernaculum is a definite winner and should help these vets continue to gain the attention they deserve.
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