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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Earth -- Kansas City, MO -- April 1st, 2014

To the uninitiated, Earth would look like just any other band. A three-piece with a modest set-up, some members with a few tattoos, and introducing themselves to the crowd and politely asking people to not use flash, but encouraging them to record the show. However, Dylan Carlson and company make up one of the most influential underground bands of the 90s heavy rock/metal scene. On a chilly Tuesday night at the recordBar in Westport, the band trudged through seven songs in 80 minutes to a crowd that was receptive to the music when they weren't zoned out in the droning riffs.

Earth is, has been, and always will be firmly rooted in drone metal. But within that planting, they dabble around in riffing and beats that are more Boris than Sunn O))). Speaking of Boris, opening song "Old Black" from the 2011 album "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I" is proof that Carlson's guitar playing and song structures have directly influenced the Japanese band, namely the album "Flood." The band switched back and forth between old and new songs, performing three tracks off their upcoming album to be released in July. They seem a bit more darn and ambitious than their past few albums, especially on the new track "There Is A Serpent Coming." The rest of the set featured "Coda Mestoso In F (Flat) Minor" from 1996's "Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons," albeit with a reworked intro. Carlson joked that it was the last album of theirs before this upcoming album to feature vocals. The trio also performed "The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull" from the same-titled 2008 release, and ended with "Ouroboros Is Broken," which was far and away the heaviest song of the night, which is saying something when it comes to Earth.

Earth seemed to have reworked all of their songs into a live setting. Take "Ouroboros Is Broken" for example. Originally a 20-minute drone piece on a 1991 EP, it was later re-worked into an 8-minute track in 2007, however it was much softer there. Live, the band seemed to straddle the line between the two song lengths, but performed the song heavier than it has ever been recorded. The same can be said for "Coda Mestoso," a groovy, drone-y piece on album but absolutely crushing live. It's the sign of a great band - rework the songs for a live setting that can make fans appreciate both the recorded and the live versions. Not every band can pull this off, but Earth do it easily.

Opening the show was local band Expo '70. They were a perfect blend of Kyuss and Earthless - at times being very catchy heavy stoner rock before melting into a huge, long, psychedelic metal jam session. I'd heard of the band before but never got around to checking them out, but I might just have a new favorite local opening band. I haven't been this impressed with a first listen to a local band in a very, very long time.

1. Old Black
2. There Is A Serpent Coming (new song)
3. The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
4. Rooks Across The Gate (new song)
5. Coda Maestoso In F (Flat) Minor (with re-worked intro)
6. Badger (new song)
7. Ouroboros Is Broken

Earth: 9/10
Expo '70: 8.5/10

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