earth 2

I'm looking at the cover of this album. I like it. At first glance, it seems pretty simple: thick, solid blue takes up the bottom three quarters, with a white bar taking up the rest. "Earth 2" in giant black letters is printed across the white field, with "Special Low-Frequency Version" beneath it. (As far as I know, both the reissue and the original pressing were Special Low-Frequency Versions. There was a Special Low-Quantity Version handed out at early shows, but that was never made widely available, obviously.) White, black, and blue; pure unassuming colours. No message except the title, and all that imparts is that this is Earth's second album (after Extra-Capsular Extraction, an EP from 1991).

Upon more than just a passing glance, one notices a green strip along the bottom. Looking closely, it becomes clear that there are small animals near the bottom, along this green line, which turns out to be grass. Suddenly the album cover takes on a whole new form. The blue block that covers most of it is not a simple blue block, but sky, a thousand feet of it, and far below are minuscule animals living their lives on a grassy plain. They are blissfully unaware of the unbelievable amount of sky and its incredible mass that is constantly pressing down on them.

This is an accurate portrayal of the music contained within. Take a heavy metal song. Take out the drums, and the vocals. If there was a keyboard, take that out too. Leave the guitars and bass. Now slow it down. Slower. SLOWER. Now, LOWER. I don't want this chord progression to take four seconds, I want it to take four minutes. Find the right position in front of the amp to get a feedback loop going. Good, that's right, get that sound to come out of the amp and back in through the guitar, down the cord and out of the amp again. Around and around. Now turn it up until I begin to question the structural capabilities of my skull in extremely low frequencies and high volume. Earth 2.

The sound of Earth 2 is so massive, it fills my mind with progressively heavier presences. Rhinoceros, elephant. Pyramid, glacier, mountain range. Tectonic plate. The Moon. The Earth. The celestial bodies are so beautiful in their contradiction. Such a mind-cracking weight, and hanging in empty space like that, gliding around on an oval track. The rumbling overtakes the music eventually. By the third song on the album, most of the traces of conventional music have fallen away, leaving a jeweled core of freeform noise. The amplifier is suffering tremendous labour, having this sound forced through it, a sound far more monumental than it was designed to cope with. It is a conduit for something far greater than itself.

1. Seven Angels (15:35)
2. Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine (27:05)
3. Like Gold And Faceted (30:21)

Earth 2 is important; it was one of the first drone doom albums. The remarkable thing is how totally Earth embraced the genre. While Melvins' Lysol incorporated drone doom in 1992, only Earth was daring enough at that time to make a 73 minute album exploring the concept. This is a piece of music that tests limits. It may take multiple listens to appreciate, and still more to willingly reach the end. Still, it inspired the very existence of SUNN 0))) and Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine. With the exception of the inimitable SUNN 0)))/Boris collaboration Altar, there is no other album that comes closer to being drone doom incarnate.

Earth 2 - Earth - 1993 - Sub Pop