(2019) Full Upon Her Burning Lips

Earth

... read moreTo mark Earth's 30th anniversary, guitarist Dylan Carlson, the project's sole constant member, comes nearly 360 degrees with Full Upon Her Burning Lips, the band's ninth studio album and first in five years. 2014's Primitive and Deadly marked the pinnacle of the arid, Americana-tinged sound Carlson...

01:02′:50″ 10 Songs

1
Datura's Crimson Veils
Earth
12:15
2
Exaltation Of Larks
Earth
3:19
3
Cats On The Briar
Earth
5:56
4
The Colour Of Poison
Earth
5:31
5
Descending Belladonna
Earth
5:11
6
She Rides An Air Of Malevolence
Earth
11:27
7
Maiden's Catafalque
Earth
2:49
8
An Unnatural Carousel
Earth
6:51
9
The Mandrake's Hymn
Earth
5:03
10
A Wretched Country Of Dusk
Earth
4:28
Released 24 May 2019, ℗ 2019 Sargent House

Review

To mark Earth's 30th anniversary, guitarist Dylan Carlson, the project's sole constant member, comes nearly 360 degrees with Full Upon Her Burning Lips, the band's ninth studio album and first in five years. 2014's Primitive and Deadly marked the pinnacle of the arid, Americana-tinged sound Carlson and friends began carving with the previous decade's Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method. Paring down the band's lineup to just himself and longtime drummer Adrienne Davies, Carlson places his own focus on riff and rhythm over drone, which is not to say that he's left the latter behind. Far from it. What is different is the prominence of Davies' drums here, which previously held a subservient role in the articulation of Earth's music. Here they act as a proper foil for Carlson's glorious, hypnotic repetition delivering accents, fills, and even breaks and spiny shuffles as the guitarist explicates the hidden melodies inside the layered guitars and basses. Set-opener "Datura's Crimson Veils" commences with single notes and droning feedback before Davies enters; Carlson showcases the hub of the primal Black Sabbath-ian riff that he explicates throughout in unison with the drummer as subtle overtones, peals of feedback, and distortion project Earth's power and rawness for more than 12 minutes. "Cats on the Briar" is another rockist undertaking, but the snare and kick drum shuffle at its heart makes room for Carlson to highlight his melody as the riff. A stop-and-start pattern inserted into the framework of changes on "The Colour of Poison" contrasts deliciously with undulating waves of volume. "Descending Belladonna" is a circular cascade of notes that travel down the neck, with pauses for feedback, a brief cymbal or snare accent, and a low-tuned bass that creates a circular pulse. The M.O. on the nearly-13-minute "She Rides an Air of Malevolence" is to parse angular, psychedelic riffs that slowly envelop the listener. The shuffling drums add heft and authority to the layered guitar and basses. Davies' kit does takes a more backseat approach on the languid "Maiden’s Catafalque," with its undulating Americana phrasing and languorous syrup of delay that ultimately creates a seductive yet disquieting theme. "A Wretched Country of Dust" is a cinematically inspired, inverted processional with three harmonically interactive guitar melodies. Combined with Davies' kit, the layered harmonics open spaces and tensions inside the changes, offering the impression of a sunlit intro rather than a set closer. Full Upon Her Burning Lips is sumptuous, a return to basics informed by Earth's decade-and-a-half period of discovery. The album's impeccable balance of those poles places it among the band's finest recorded offerings. ~ Thom Jurek