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Earthless - Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons review

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Band: Earthless
Album: Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons
Style: Psychedelic rock
Release date: January 2022

01. Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons
02. Death To The Red Sun

The change in direction of Earthless on Black Heaven turns out to have been temporary; the insanely long instrumental jams are back with a vengeance.

For most of their career, California trio Earthless have made music in a very clear mould. I was introduced to the band through their appearance in the documentary Such Hawks, Such Hounds (by the way, if you’ve not seen this and have any interest in stoner/psychedelic rock, do yourself a favor and check it out, it’s an excellent watch), where their song “Sonic Prayer” is featured. “Sonic Prayer”, like the other song on Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky or the two songs on the album called Sonic Prayer, is an epic instrumental jam that lasts for 20-odd minutes and features the most insane improvisational hard rocking going. Their last album, however, was a big change; not only did Black Heaven feature (relatively) short desert rock tracks, but guitarist Isaiah Mitchell also became the band’s vocalist, a role that the band had actively rejected the concept of for the better part of their career.

My first (and only, for now) time seeing Earthless live was on the Black Heaven tour, and I have to admit that both album and performance left me slightly underwhelmed; it’s fine for what it is, but it’s not really playing to the band’s strengths. The band also found themselves out of their comfort zone, with the result that their next record, Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons, is an instrumental-only album that runs for a full hour despite containing only 3 tracks (or 2, depending on whether you count the two parts of the title track as separate songs or not). Not only are Earthless back in familiar territory on this record, but they’re arguably going as hard as they ever have here.

Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons is another name for Hyakki Yagyō, a Japanese folk legend in which a supernatural horde descends upon sleeping villages, with villagers hiding in case they witness the procession and die. This inspiration is felt in the darker tone heard in parts of the title track. It starts off delicately, however; the first 6-7 minutes of the song are almost ambient in their gentle guitar meanderings, before the group kick into a punchy, sinister riff. From this point, drummer Mario Rubalcaba moves into a relentless, hypnotic tom-heavy drum rhythm for a good long stretch, with Mitchell exploring the space above. Eventually, the band wrap up the first half of “Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons” with driving riffs, chaotic guitar shredding and Sabbath-esque doom.

The second half is initially sustained by atmospheric tribal drumming, with the group holding back until nearly the halfway mark before transitioning into louder, more driven rocking. From that point, there’s plenty more shredding, before a repeat of the same doomy climax as part 1 ended with, bringing things back full circle after such an extended journey. The Black Sabbath inspirations can also be heard across “Death To The Red Sun”; however, this album is less atmospheric than “Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons”. Instead, “Death To The Red Sun” is all out jam craziness, fast-paced and driven, with some metal gallops heard at times during the relentless instrumental pyrotechnics that otherwise dominate throughout: this is classic Earthless, with a little added bite.

An album like this is a bit hard to judge; it’s exactly what you’re looking for in an Earthless album and the performances are incredible in how relentless they are, but it’s also not music designed for memorability. I was actually quite impressed by how long they pushed the tribal introduction to part 2 of the title track, as I felt this offered an appealing dimension to the album, and I also enjoyed how heavy the group went at times during the record. I didn’t find anything on Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons to be as irresistibly insidious as the hypnotic rhythm of a track like “Sonic Prayer”, but if you enjoy long-form improvisational rock, there’s not much in this vein that can beat Earthless really going for it.

Written on 29.01.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 3   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 76 users
30.01.2022 - 08:47
I will make it my new life's mission to see these folks live
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
30.01.2022 - 20:00
delicious dish
Written by RaduP on 30.01.2022 at 08:47

I will make it my new life's mission to see these folks live

Saw them at Roadburn 2018 where they had like a million sets it was great. I really didn't think it would have been music for me, but some guy at the campfire told me to really check them out and I was really surprised.
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
06.02.2022 - 18:45
X-Ray Rod
Friggin mental solos. I hate myself for not seeing them at Roadburn. Didn't know them at the time but this got me quite hooked!
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.

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