Earth Hibernaculum

Thanks to Greg Anderson and his total worship via his own band Sunn0))), drone forefathers Earth not only received credit for founding this subgenre but were spurred out of retirement after a decade with the release of the excellent yet subdued Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method in 2005 on Anderson’s Southern Lord label. Though this title is up to personal interpretation (it’s Latin for "winter tent”), the Hibernaculum CD/DVD boasts four tracks, three of which are oldies that Earth re-recorded in their Hex-styled, kinder, gentler mode. "Ouroboros Is Broken” (originally from their Kurt Cobain-assisted ’91 debut) now acquires keyboard and trombone treatment, and "Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor” (from 1997’s Pentastar) gets a country overhaul that results in slower, more languid chords that grasp a discernible twang. Beginning with a plaintive piano, "Miami Morning Coming Down” (from an obscure 1997 comp) most closely resembles the mellowed-out soundtrack music from Pink Floyd’s More or Obscured by Clouds. "A Plague of Angels” (from Live Hex and the Angel Coma split with Sunn0)))) is a 16-minute slab of lingering layers and plodding drums. The DVD, which contains Seldon Hunt’s film Within the Drone, is a tour documentary of the band with interviews and performances. Especially poignant are bandleader Dylan Carlson’s comments on the group’s early days on Sub Pop, how he’s simply a vessel for the music and naturally, the visual gratification of studying the onstage interplay of the new line-up. Hibernaculum is a true milestone in Earth’s evolution from noise to neutrality, and an apt swan song if Carlson decides to end it here. (Southern Lord)