Earthmass – Lunar Dawn (Keep, Relic & Ritual) EP – 83%

Lunar Dawn (Keep, Relic & Ritual) cover art

The 4-piece band Earthmass was formed in February of this year and comes to us from Essex, South-East England. Self described as Progressive, Doom, psychedelic, Stoner Metal, I’ve been assured by a friend that this is definitely a more post-metal release than any of those genres so I’ve taken it upon myself to delve into the one-track 20 minute monstrosity.

The track begins with a slow brooding guitar amongst anxious drums and acceptable bass trying to find its way into the front of the mix, occasionally catching a glimpse of spotlight when the guitar isn’t doing its thing. When the downtuned guitars and the vocals hit I can’t help but feel instant similarities between Earthmass and the heavier work of Katatonia circa 2003’ish. The overall feel is very dark and gloomy but with enough cymbal crashes, ambience and fluttering guitar to set it a part from the doom metal realm.

The clean vocals are enjoyable, particularly as the focus amongst low laying bass and sporadic drums while the guitar takes a backseat. The drums sound quite fantastic, just an excellent mixing job throughout the whole song. You can really hear every beat of the drumrolls during the quieter parts of the track. The rest of the mixing I can’t say the same for however as the track definitely gets muddy in certain areas and is in desperate need of some proper studio engineering.  That’s a nuance you come to expect though in self-releases though so I’m not too unforgiving on that qualm. I also felt like guitar layers sometimes drifted too far off the path resulting in static that is far too high-pitched to be enjoyed.

What’s important here is that the as a 20 minute song, Earthmass has managed to maintain my interest by switching pace and style numerous times throughout the track, showcasing a wide range of ability and talent as a young band. I don’t think that the material is groundbreaking by any means, but it’s still a solid release. There definitely is a stoner rock vibe to it and hints of psychedelic influence strung about but make no mistake, post-metal fans should be right at home listening to this track. 8-21-12

About $2 on bandcamp: http://earthmassband.com/album/lunar-dawn-keep-relic-ritual