You know how it is. You spend hours trawling around the darker recesses of the internet on the search for good music – it’s rather like the biggest record shop you’ve ever been into, but without the annoyance of having to shift ever heavier wads of PVC – coated vinyl out of the way to get to that elusive LP you’ve been searching for – and you end up in all sorts of exotic places – Portland, Perth, Oslo…..and then, all of a sudden, unbidden, you happen upon a band that not only wakes you up with a hard slap round the metaphorical chops, but also happens to be based not too far away. This is how it was, then, with the mighty Earthmass. They’re not from somewhere exotic, by the way. They’re from Chelmsford [I think!].
But locality is not the thing that Earthmass is notable for. No, it’s far more than that. The word ‘Epic’ has not been used for many years in music; the brevity of Punk saw to the lugubrious, self-indulgent excesses of the likes of E.L.P and Rick Wakeman with his triple concept on ice albums about dwarves journeying, Hobbit-style, to the centre of the earth. And thank God for that, too. We never needed that dreadful, introspective 70s irrelevance anyway. And that was pretty much the way it remained until of course a decade or so ago, when the mighty Sleep unleased their epic ‘Dopesmoker’ onto the eardrums of the world, followed by the mighty, avant-garde yet rather confusing Sunn O))). Both of those bands managed an hour of solid, dark, Sabbath-inflected riffology, arguably giving birth to the modern stoner movement and removing the taboo of loooong songs for good.
But there haven’t been many bands with either the technical ability or the chutzpah to pull off a really long record since then. Which is why Earthmass are so blooming exciting. I looked at their bandcamp page and thought ‘ah well, another half-ready band with one demo track’…..then I realised that track boasted a running time of 20 minutes and 45 seconds. Sharp intake of breath.
‘Lunar Dawn‘, for that is the track, is hard to do justice to in a short piece like this. Let’s just say that it is deep, heavy, diverse, complex and utterly mesmerising – in fact, in the spirit of the brevity I mentioned earlier, I am simply going to ask you to click on ‘play’ below, sit back, [and if you are so inclined, light up] and see what you think.