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Earth - Legacy of Dissolution

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Artist: Earth

Album: Legacy of Dissolution

Label: No Quarter

Review date: May. 30, 2005

In the years between the beginning and end of Earth's hiatus, Dylan Carlson's behemoth of a sludgefest became an unlikely touchstone for tons of people, supplanting its former position as a mere bizarre anomaly in Sub Pop's catalogue. At the time, their discography seemed like something of a joke to many - all detuned, slow motion riffs and/or somnambulant Southern-fried stoner rock, the kind of stuff most likely to become a footnote to the guy who sold Kurt Cobain the infamous gun. But in that six-year period, folks like Boris, Corrupted, Natas, and Sunn 0))) (in addition to a wealth of Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson projects and friends on the Southern Lord label) picked up on the sheer volume and sloth, infusing Sabbath hooks with the mantra of minimalism. Legacy of Dissolution cherry picks some obvious followers of Earth's singular sound and a few surprising choices for a remix collection that shows just how wide a swath these slow-motion Slayer riffs could cut.

Sunn 0))) is the most obvious choice for inclusion on a disc such as this, and true to form, their take on "Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine" (from the essential Earth 2), with its dirty 808 hits, takes the original into doom metal territory, allowing the space between the riffs to become as heavy and ominous as the guitars themselves. Mogwai takes on the same track to open the record, turning it into a piercing drone replete with some nifty backward riffing and computer trickery to update the original for the aughts.

Surprisingly, Russell Haswell, Jim O'Rourke, and Justin Broadrick each pull their source material from the sadly out of print (and thus often overlooked) Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions. Haswell spins "Tibetan Quaaludes" into the claustrophobic noise territory he's become known for, turning Earth's track into a cause for fear and dread. Jim "I'm Here, I'm There, I'm Pretty Much Everywhere" O'Rourke presents a more nuanced and mannered variation on "Thrones and Dominions," stretching out the original's feedback drones into a somewhat restrained backdrop for Carlson's soloing. Broadrick, whose Godflesh is another touchstone for bombastic metal, provides a reworking of "Harvey" that sounds reminiscent of his recent Jesu material - a heavier take on the shoegazer sound with some gentle electronic beats scattered throughout.

Undoubtedly, the most surprising track here is Autechre's revisioning of "Coda Maestro in F(flat) Minor." Using the final track from the oft-maligned Pentastar: In the Style of Demons as a starting point, the duo deviates from their normal modus, ditching the glitch and instead barely reworking the original track. This one hardly deviates from the normal song, instead remixing the track in the most literal sense - brighter guitars, more hushed percussion - interesting in its own right, but tough to really differentiate.

Remix collections can often be a mixed bag of sycophants and hired guns. Those gathered for Legacy of Dissolution mostly sidestep these pitfalls, showcasing a variety of ways and contexts in which Earth's sound has had an influence. While obviously not as seminal as albums like Earth 2, it still serves as a nice teaser while we wait for Earth's first batch of new material in almost 10 years.

By Michael Crumsho

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