Review by Sonny for Earth - Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (1993)
Well, it's taken 28 years for me to finally get round to Earth's legendary debut. The reason for this tardiness on my part is that my introduction to the band was via 2008's The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, an album which I found so extremely boring and tedious that the very name Earth became anathema to me. So here we are in 2021 and buried within September's Fallen playlist was the opening track of Earth 2, Seven Angels, which when I heard it for the first time made me realise that I had made a terrible misjudgement of the band, a mistake which I would have to rectify in very short order.
Earth 2 is an album that is virtually impossible to review without resort to metaphor and hyperbole. As these are my preferred modes of expression usually, I don't intend to depart from this norm. This is an album that is as much a tactile experience as an auditory one. I imagine the absolute best way to experience it is through a huge Marshall stack at bowel-voiding volume. I can't escape the feeling that there is more going on than you can actually hear, in the same way as the majority of what's happening in the universe is undetectable to the human eye: gamma radiation, x-rays, infra-red light and dark matter all being invisible to us humans, I suspect that there are sonic waves produced by this that are too low a frequency to be heard and instead are felt, just like when the hairs on the back of your neck inexplicably stand up due to some undetected and unsuspected stimulus. It's almost like the album is a black hole's event horizon that once breached, inescapably draws you further into itself, crushing with unimaginably immense gravitational force for the heaviest experience in the universe.
It is ironic that a band called Earth produce music that, better than anything else I have heard, replicates how I imagine the majority of the cosmos would sound if it wasn't in vacuum. Within it's grooves I hear the death of stars and the demolition of galaxies, for what I can only describe as a transcendental and meditative experience. I'm not sure that any other album has ever launched my imagination onto a more vivid journey than Earth 2. I am fortunate that I live on a north-west facing hillside and get to see some fantastic sunsets. I am already anticipating sitting in a garden chair playing Like Gold and Faceted as the sun begins it's descent below the horizon, and letting the track become the soundtrack to the dying of the day.
Drone metal is absolutely not for everyone and neither is Earth 2. This is atmospheric music that truly is as much sensation as sound. It is very simple and repetitive, but is particularly affecting to those who "get it". Are there any riffs? Not really - well there are, but they are so slowly realised that they appear only as single chords sustained and built upon to amass into nothing less than a natural force. I'm sure there are plenty of people, including fans of doom metal, who find drone in general and Earth2 in particular boring, but for me this album is one of the most profound musical experiences I have ever had. I'm just cursing myself that it took me so long to submit to it's gravity, but I suppose it's better late than never.