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Earthless - Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky

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Artist: Earthless

Album: Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky

Label: Tee Pee

Review date: May. 16, 2007

I first heard Earthless on a Gravity Records EP from about two years ago - a two-song affair that did a lot to strengthen my appreciations for cosmic space metal. “Flower Travelin’ Man” wasted no time in finding a sledgehammer riff, and then spent the rest of the song furiously beating the living tar out of it. Naturally, a listener’s reaction to this approach can vary a lot, especially when a track goes on for 20-plus minutes. I found it odd and perhaps somewhat surprising that my immediate enthusiasm gave way to boredom at about the 10-minute mark, but by minute 18 I had come back around the corner with my head shaved, bong loaded, and Camaro re-coated in primer (so to speak).

Hailing from San Diego, Earthless comprises the talents of Mario Rubalcaba, Mike Eginton and Isaiah Mitchell. Rubalcaba has banged on the cans for a host of left coast icons including Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, and the criminally undersung '90s artcore pinups remembered as Clikitat Ikatowi. With such strong and lasting ties to the Gravity Records phenom, it’s interesting to consider how the fabulous sloppiness that gave that label’s roster a large part of its appeal has now given way to the kind of technical precision needed to pull off the hammer-pulsed fury of Earthless.

Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky sticks to (by the band’s own admission) the same formula of their previous outings - Japanese psychedelic guitar heroics crossed with Krautrock’s experimental underpinnings. The first part of that equation is most evident in the album’s three tracks, with a heavy debt paid to Japan’s High Rise in “Godspeed.” (Which features five individual “movements,” though at the end of the day really just bashes skulls in glorious repetition for slightly south of half an hour.) Nearly identical turf is danced mightily upon in “Sonic Prayer,” which bruises limbs and bloodies eardrums for a similar duration. “Cherry Red,” by comparison a hastily delivered Groundhogs cover, makes no less of a statement.

By Mike Lupica

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