With a heavy, low end, progressive post metal edge, England's Earthmass are overflowing with ambition. This four piece metal act from Essex aren't confined to standard album structure, or any structure at all, for that matter. Instead, they give you a single song; one track that runs over twenty minutes long, with ever changing riffs and grungy distortion. On "Lunar Dawn (Keep, Relic & Ritual)" you may not have the joy of clicking your mouse to skip tracks, or pushing that glowing "skip" button on your iPod, but you may not need to. Buried in this epic track is everything you were looking for.
Clean guitars provide the opening, joined quickly by a sliding bass and the tap of drum sticks on one another. Unlike the drone movement that seems to be gaining popularity, no one segment runs on too long. With each passing measure, more pieces come in to play. The entire drum kit booms in, with kicks, snares, and toms filling every void. The pacing sees a step up every so often, and you can feel the impending explosion beginning to come to a head. Sure enough, that blast comes a mere three minutes in, with a wave of distorted riffs washing over you. One guitar handles the earth shaking chugging, while the other lays down a melody. The vocals, while short and sparingly used, are clean and melodic, giving just enough of a boost to the instrumental to make it a worthwhile addition. Lyrically, it reads like a cryptic warning.
"Keep them from your door...
As shifting sands reveal the keep, the mummy King and his Queen weep the blood of all who fell before; when, long ago, they stormed the door. The Relic of forgotten time is bathed in light, as moons align. A lunar dawn to resurrect a war.
...Bathed in light as moons align."
The changes in tempo and style aren't there to mask imperfections, or pad out an egotistical whim. each section has its own feel, its own purpose. From the rise, to the fall, you are always on the cusp of something else. Down tempo prog rock give way to atmospheric guitar work, complete with wailing solos and crashing cymbals. With blast after blast, only a soothing bass line can bring you down from your high, and it does just that. Layer upon layer of distortion and reverb fill the air, with each one standing out slightly from the rest, while still contributing to the whole. Even when things do eventually break down into chaos, it is an organized one, a short shift in momentum that you wade through to get back to normalcy. And if that short section was the reprieve, then the pummeling you receive in the outro is the fabled "fatality, flawless victory." The sheer strength of each down stroke is enough to beat you into submission.
Delivering one twenty minute representation of you, and your musical personality, is a tall order. Whether it is a five song EP, or a single track, the challenge is to keep it fresh and moving, without betraying your vision. For Earthmass, it would be beyond me to say whether or not this particular song is everything they wanted it to be. But for the sake of argument, it would be a stretch to need or want anything more than what you have here. You are treated to a flowing monster of a track, one that builds you up and tears you down at will. With that in mind, it would be crass of me to suggest that "Lunar Dawn (Keep, Relic & Ritual)" is anything short of excellent. All twenty damn minutes of it.
Official Site - http://www.earthmassband.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/earthmass