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Last thing I expect from these masters of the long drone is an EP but Earth and Sunn0))) have done a split EP together with each band contributing one track to its part of the split. Appropriately for two bands with Earth and Sun(n) in their names, the two sides are complementary like Yin and Yang, one track being very smooth and relaxed and the other a more distorted and distracted affair. Which one is Yin and which Yang? - it's up to us listeners to decide!
Earth's contribution "A Plague of Angels" is a slow and gentle piece with a steady laid-back drum rhythm and drawn out guitar riffs with enough space between each chord to drive a herd of cattle through, bathed in a hot desert ambience that brings to mind a soundtrack for a modern Western flick based perhaps on a Cormac MacCarthy novel. Each chord is delivered as though it were a final judgement from God. There is plenty of jangle to each chord as well and sometimes there is an added watery effect. The track develops slowly yet progressively as additional layers of sound and instrumentation are added with possible organ. Extra guitar licks and melodies supply a country blues air and enhance the lazy hot-summer feel of the track. There's nothing here that seems oppressive or heavy with foreboding; the track actually comes over as triumphant and celebratory in its later melodies, in spite of its title which suggests something at once sinister yet benevolent.
From Sunn0))) we get "Coma Mirror", a terrifying and distorted metalloid-drone piece that might have come straight off an blackened industrial / power electronics recording. A continuous wheeze of sharpening chainsaw hiss and high-end whir trawls by with added background screams of the ghosts of those who might have met the business end of the monster chainsaw. The track gets louder and louder and thicker and thicker and ever more deranged, so densely packed with guitar noise it becomes. Listening to it on headphones, your head would be full of this metal tornado circling in slow motion, cleaning out your brain cells until there's nothing left and you're reduced to blank blabbering plasma. After the 11th minute, the music abruptly changes direction and intensity and goes off onto a plateau before phasing out gently.
Both tracks are similar in their general structure and development, each building up slowly yet relentlessly. For many listeners, Earth will have the edge in the way they exit their track on a note of pride and celebration; the Sunn0))) track on the other hand appears not to transit into its conclusion all that smoothly and I wonder whether the awkward coda is intended to be deliberate or just doesn't quite conform to the musicians' original intentions. On the other hand, the Earth track delivers nothing I haven't heard from this band in the last few years since they changed direction whereas the Sunn0))) track is totally unexpected and reveals that the duo has plenty of tricks up their very voluminous robe sleeves. Hands down I prefer the Sunn0))) track, deranged though it is: Yin to Earth's Yang.
Sunn and Earth. Cooool. I'm a pretty big Sunn fan, and while the only Earth album i've got sucks, I'm willing to give them another chance, especcially after hearing about their HEX album. While I don't know if this sound is representative of their usual sound, Earth do a great track on this split, and Sunn deliver as well.
As the other reviewer noted, there's definetly a evil/good mix in this album. Sunn's contribution is an extremely slow (as in, even slower then usual Sunn O))) stuff) drone song that crawls slowly and painfully to it's ending. There's only 2 or 3 chord changes throughout the whole thing, a small amount, even for Sunn O))). It does drag a bit, but it's still a powerful, heady drone song. It's somewhat dark, especcially around the beginning, but it's not all that evil. It drags on a fair bit though- If it was five minutes shorter, it still would've achieved what it set out to do. It's OK, but not up to the usual standard that we've all come to expect.
Earth's contribution, by contrast, is a lot better then what I expected. It's a really mellow trip. It's droney in a weird sort of way.. Not in the usual "Massive, slow walls of guitar" way that's the usual thing, but in a gentle, repetitive way. It sounds like what you'd play at one of those black gospel churches, if one of them was run by drone fanatics. It's real mellow and laidback, and fairly bluesy. It's not incredibly cheerful but it's not super depressing either. Generally, it's a surprising and well though out drone-blues tune.
While Sunn's contribution was a bit of a bummer, Earth's remarkable "Plague of Angels" really impressed me, and now i really want to go out and buy an Earth album or two. I don't know how easy this is to find, but if it's not on ebay, you should be able to download it. (Like me.) Recommended!
I've always liked Sunn and Earth and their sound, and this Cd is no different...
This is a Insane/Not calm and Sane/Calm cd. Of course Sunn O))) is the Insane/Not calm part of the Split.
"Coma Mirror" is the song for all the people who have disturbed minds. The bass starts off with the usual Sunn Distortion and undertuned sound, along with the occasional tormented screams in the background. This is more of the "darkside to life" part of the cd. This is of course, sounds pretty ambient and very dark, if you will. The song basically ends the same way it started, living you with a different more sinister view on how you see things.
Then Earth's "A plague of Angels" comes on. Very calm and mellow-like. This song is the complete opposite of the Sunn O))) song. This is the "life isn't that bad" part of the split. The song consists of dream-like guitar riffs and bass sounds, and a atmosphere that doesn't exactly make you happy, but it doesn't leave you feeling negative at all.
Think of this as the 2-sides of what humanity goes through, we have our good, calm side. But then, lurking somewhere down inside we all have something sinister we want to show. A pretty interesting cd, although it can get monotonious at times.
A good part of the Sunn and Earth collection.