Earthless – “Violence Of The Red Sea” (Stereogum Premiere)

Michael Nelson | September 4, 2013 - 1:51 pm

In 2009, I went to see Baroness play NYC’s Bowery Ballroom. They were touring for their Blue Record, my favorite album of that year and still my favorite Baroness LP; I had never seen Baroness before, and I couldn’t wait to witness in concert some of the songs that were at that moment more or less owning my life. Before that night, though, I was instructed by several friends and acquaintances to arrive at the venue early enough to see openers Earthless. I took that advice, which wound up having consequences both positive and negative: On one hand, Earthless played one of the best sets I’ve ever seen, absolutely smoking their way through a single instrumental jam that lasted more than half an hour, leaving nearly everyone in the packed room howling wildly, staring in disbelief, and just generally losing our collective shit. On the other hand, Baroness simply could not compare to that display; their set felt staid and static by comparison. I remember thinking, as I left, that no band should voluntarily invite Earthless to serve as an opening act. They don’t warm up the room: They BURN IT DOWN and leave it in ashes. When that’s over, nothing remains.

Anyway, Earthless are set to release their third studio album, and first in six years, called From The Ages. (It follows 2005’s Sonic Prayer and 2007’s Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky, as well as — fittingly — two live albums). The band is a power trio comprising drummer Mario Rubalcaba (OFF!, Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes), bassist Mike Eginton (Electric Nazarene), and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (Howlin’ Rain, Nebula, Drunk Horse). They play an absolutely apocalyptic brand of instrumental stoner-psychedelic-doom that relies on each player basically being a total powerhouse carrying an equal (and very heavy) load; I’d say the closest analogue is probably Jimi Hendrix with the Band Of Gypsies (or the caustic fusion of Miles Davis’s post-Bitches Brew albums such as On The Corner or Big Fun). From The Ages does a pretty excellent job of capturing Earthless’s remarkable abilities, and for that it’s an essential document, although I honestly feel they’re one of the few bands on this planet whom you ABSOLUTELY MUST see live. North American tour dates have yet to be announced, but when they are, do not sleep. Go. Go early. Believe me.

We’re streaming From The Ages’ opener “Violence Of The Red Sea,” which lays waste to civilization over the course of its 14 insane minutes. And the album only gets better from there. Listen.

From The Ages is out 10/15 via Tee Pee.

Tags: Earthless