The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull

Written by: EW on 13/12/2008 00:26:18

Talk about an album review long in the works. "The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull" was conceivably the first 2008-released album I heard this year and by God it was one heck of an introduction to 2008. After getting many listens in the few months following it's release back in February it had gradually gathered dust until it seemed time to again indulge myself in the warm, lush tones that comprise the 7 scores on this here, Earth's 6th studio album since formation back in 1990. Earth's history is unique, and highly interesting. Did you know they are regarded as the pioneers of the drone/doom genre, ya' know, the genre where time stands still and the music takes on a lifeforce of it's own? Did you know Kurt Cobain was an admirer of the band, even submitting vocals on a few early tracks? Whatever your thoughts on bands like Sunn 0))), their open admission of Earth's influence on their existence is something to behold.

I just love this album. Despite having reviewed Scott Hull's excellent and soothing "Requiem" recently, this is another level of relaxation - 53 minutes of twee simple guitar tones and inspired minimalist drumming processed by a mind in bandleader Dylan Carlson able to pick out those sounds that initiate intense bouts of dreaminess and mind-transferral in the listener. Twangy country guitar licks set upon on a glacially slow beat, guitars that appear from the outer extremities of your conscious before disappearing back into the ether; "The Bees..." is capable of turning your mind inside out and upside down. Picking out individual moments of greatness is difficult for this release wants to be known as a single entity, the provision of one large, blank canvas of purely instrumental work allowing the listener to make up his own mind about what the song should mean to him rather than being told through lyric. Save for the quintessentially stunning "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" (Green Carnation), you'll struggle to find an album that paints with such a vivid palette of depth and feeling, moods and colours; to do so without any lyrics is testament to Earth's ability to transpose human emotion into thought-provoking music.

One could argue the existence of noticable similarity between tracks on "The Bees...", a point not without it's evidence, but to flag such a 'fault' is to not understand the reasoning behind such a record. Album opener "Omens And Portents I: The Driver" is perhaps the most trippy of the lot, featuring the greatest level of feedback on the LP as the guitars weave a hypnotic path of increasing dramatisation until the song concludes as if the droned-out amps can't take any more. "Rise To Glory" could be viewed as a song to gently bring you into the new day as it caresses your ears with the piano/guitar interplay to be found in a number of other songs too. If you like music to take you on ride of smooth relaxation, "Engine of Ruin", feeling totally devoid of pressure should do the job for you. The themes of others exist, however who am I to tell you what thoughts to have about them, that’s your job.

You can bet "The Bees..." will float by before you've even noticed the passing of time and find itself a moment in your life, an event or action, that it will cling to and become the soundtrack of. Me, I thought I'd had that moment months ago now but after a lengthy break to find it still generates new thoughts in me was an unexpected bonus. For those with an interest in unusual music, and prepared to devote time to listen to something most would dismiss as 'boring' , "The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull" is here to take your mind for a walk while your body has a rest. Enjoy.


Download: Omens And Portents I: The Driver, Engine Of Ruin, The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
For The Fans Of: Sunn 0))), Boris, Om
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date: 15.02.08
Southern Lord Records

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