Nearly 25 years into their career, Seattle based Earth have returned two years after 2012’s “Angels Into Darkness” with their eighth album, and their fifth for Southern Lord. Once again the band are almost impossible to pin down as they take in all different sounds and influences to create one of their finest albums yet.
“Primitive And Deadly” opens with the near nine minute ‘Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon’, which introduces the album in a solemn menacing way. The slow repetitive march puts the listener on the back foot right from the off and leaves you feeling unsure of where this album could take you. This is probably the best state to be in, just sit back and let the music lead you around the world they have created on “Primitive And Deadly”. One of the highlights of the album comes when Mark Lanegan lends his voice to ‘There Is A Serpent Coming’, with his soulful vocals telling as much of the story of the songs as the lyrics.
Lanegan again appears on ‘Rooks Across The Gate’ and his voice is perfect for this track as it adds another layer to this slow heavy blues track. He is an inspired choice to add to the overall feel of the record, and hopefully broadening the appeal of the band outside their usual fan base. Earth also brings another guest vocalist in the shape of Rabia Shaheen Qazi (from Seattle’s Rose Window) on the ‘From The Zodiacal Light’. This sees the album veer off onto a psychedelic trip before heading back down to the loosing, more rock based instrumental of ‘Even Hell has It’s Heroes’. This is probably the most traditional sounding track on here and as that, it sounds somewhat strange surrounded by the tracks immediately around it. The album ends almost where it begins with the 13 minute ‘Badgers Bane’ featuring more of the repetitive sounds from before and rounding off “Primitive And Deadly” in the perfect way.
Earth are a highly revered band and this is perfect example of why they are held in such high esteem. This album is a truly stunning piece of work, and one which ranks easily amongst their best work to date, although such is the quality of the musicianship involved, you wouldn’t bet against them bettering it next time round. Each of the six tracks on here are very different but they all belong together and work well as a whole. In lesser hands some of the more repetitive tracks could end up being torturous, but each song flows naturally and never threatens to become dull. Another excellent addition to an already impressive catalogue.