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Earthless: Black Heaven (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Earthless are back with their latest album, and those who expected them to come back with something in the same vein as before may well be in for a surprise. Whereas the band’s three previous albums featured anywhere from two to four completely instrumental space rock jams, the California trio’s fourth and latest, Black Heaven, is nothing like that. “It’s quite different,” drummer Mario Rubalcaba says with a laugh. “It has six songs, and most importantly it has vocals on about 70 percent of the record. There goes being pigeonholed as an instrumental band, I guess…”Apparently, on the older records bassist Mike Eginton was responsible for most of the riffs, which lead the band down an instrumental path, whereas this time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell is responsible for most of them, as well as providing vocals (there are two shorter instrumental numbers so that band haven’t moved totally away from their roots).

Although the band are still psychedelic, it is obvious that this album has been more influenced by the likes of Cream and, possibly, Trapeze than the others. Isaiah may not have sung much previously, but that was much more down to choice of musical style as opposed to ability. Songs such as “End To End” show the band almost in one style with the vocals in tow, taking the song in one direction, but when they have the opportunity to burst away from that format and the three of them lock it in and tie it down then it becomes something quite different. It is hard to imagine this album being released any time in the last 35 years, as it is so rooted in the 1967 – 1972 (at a max) classic psychedelic stoner rock sound. They would have fitted in perfectly as a support act when Cream played the Royal Albert Hall for the last time on 26th November 1968 (yes, I know they played there again in 2005 but it wasn’t the same) and the crowd would have lapped this up.

If you have come across Earthless prior to this then this is a logical progression on from 2013’s ‘From the Ages’, and if they are new to you but you enjoy the Kyuss/Cream crossover stylings then this is well worth investigating.

Rating: 7/10

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Track list:
1 – Gifted By The Wind
2 – End To End
3 – Electric Flame
4 – Volt Rush
5 – Black Heaven
6 – Sudden End

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Links:
https://www.earthlessofficial.com/
http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/

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