A horrible hack

Earth

Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method

Year Released: 2006
Format: CD
Label: Southern Lord
 
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
A little shallow perhaps, but the first thing that struck me about this was the artwork. You get a booklet crammed full of beautiful old library photo-plates truly depicting How The West Was Won, with weather-beaten mugs that could actually be the two main members of Earth all made up and shot through a sepia filter. The sinister overtones these historical records contain, whereby man "tames" the land (ref: the rudimentary oil rig construction, the vast mounds of buffalo skulls, entire forests felled...) complements the mordant feel of the music. It's totally country-fied, all twangy guitars, lap steel and bits of banjo, but this is also Earth, the visionaries who brought forth the epic, funereal death metal drone of the "Earth 2" magnum opus (still one of the most inexplicably brilliant records of the past couple of decades), and this new direction has been a long time coming. Even without the artwork, the music would suggest windswept, Monument Valley-esque landscapes, and that reverb makes the the heartstoppingly beautiful clanging chords of a song like "Lens Of Unrectified Night" suggest so much space, transporting you to a rocking-chair on a porch at sunset as you stare out in mournful introspection across the prairie. Given that these guys are from rainy Seattle, I don't know how they came up with it. The beautifully evocative nature of this soundtrack should be appealing to anyone with ears once they get past the essential strangeness of it. The sheer glacial pace and lysergic effect of the music means that you may have unknowingly slipped into a coma by the end of the album, but headin' down this dusty trail is rewarding like nothing else.

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