After discovering Earthmass in 2013, their 2014 release ORMR has been played constantly in the Fryer household and I have forced many of my friends to listen to the band, earning them well-deserved fans. As well as being lovely guys, their discography is near flawless. Earning comparisons to Mastodon and YOB, they’re clearly going places. Their 2015 release Collapse was always going to be one of my most anticipated releases of the year but the album was not what I expected it to be.
Collapse as an album seems more down to earth than ORMR. ORMR had it’s head in the clouds so to speak, it dealt with the astral plane and was elegant, clean and majestic. Collapse though is more sludgey, darker and gritty. It’s not darkness and despair, but the tracks have more of a sense of doom about them. Also unlike ORMR, all the tracks on Collapse have vocals but they are never used as an excuse to show off the vocal talents of Jack Burley and Chris Houghton; nonetheless, they all add to proceedings. The opening chords of ‘Awake: Crisis,’ bring a sense of dread with them before the punch. The space doom the band crafted on ORMR is still present in the album, but it seems more grounded and earthbound.
Track two ‘Divergence,’ starts off with a gritty sludge vibe similar to that of Crowbar, like a mechanized army heading off to war. It’s certainly different to their previous release. ‘Weakling,’ is as depressive as the title, sounding like a cry for help, a desperate plea for forgiveness, it’s a really haunting track. The one closing the album is the eighteen minute track ‘Loom;’ a song more in touch with the ORMR days, with epic solos galore and a mighty punch to end the album with. The drumming on ‘Loom,’ in particular had me amazed, crashing down with the might of Thor fighting Surtur – destructive, calming yet mesmerizing.
Earthmass have mastered the art of the wall of sound, like Cult of Luna and their influence Mogwai, they know how to overwhelm the listener with music. Despite ‘Loom’ being eighteen minutes long, none of the track is filler, an excellent end to a great album. 2015 is off to a flying start.
Clearly, this band can do no wrong. Heavier, harder and with more creativity than some bands have in a lifetime, Earthmass are doing everything right. Now the real question is when will the world start noticing.
1. Awake: Crisis
4. Loom (1. Drowse 2. Barren)
Chris Saunders – Guitar
Jack Burley – Drums & Vocals
Chris Houghton – Guitar & Vocals
Rob Saunders – Bass