Tracklist1. Sigil of Brass
2. His Teeth Old Brightly Shine
3. A Multiplicity of Doors
4. The Corascene Dog
5. The Rakehell
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It took me a long time to sit down and listen to Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II for the first time, let alone repeat spins, because in all honesty I was afraid of what I might find. It’s not that this album’s precursor was bad in the sense that the music was inducing shudders and cringes, but rather that it was just so damn boring. Well folks, I am here to tell you that my previous pronouncement of Earth’s demise may have been slightly inaccurate, as Carlson and Co. don’t appear to have flat-lined just yet (that’s right, there is a pulse, albeit a faint one).
My initial trepidation was confirmed, however, by the exceedingly dull “Sigil of Brass,” but fortunately it’s short (by Earth standards). On the second track, “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine,” the band’s continued obsession with Americana pays off in spades. The subtle twangs, rattles, and slide guitar buried in the sparse mix offer a kind of meditative Southwestern atmosphere that is very easy to immerse yourself in. “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)” is less dusty than “Teeth,” but it’s another song that uses Earth’s length and minimalist aesthetic to craft a warm, inviting atmosphere. Unlike on Angels I the cello actually works, instead of prompting the listener to slip harmlessly into a deep sleep.
“The Corascene Dog,” track four of five, takes elements of the preceding two songs and winds them around a slight nod to rock ’n roll on the guitar in the early going, and a kind of dusk-on-a-Middle-Eastern-soundscape later on that delivers us to finale, “The Rakehell.” “The Rakehell” is just okay, and I kept finding myself wishing that there was more layering at work here. I just don’t think the psychedelic flourishes alone can do enough to transcend the lengthy run-time.
While Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I was an exercise in distance sleep-walking, its sequel, counterpart, what-have-you, does show some signs of life. There are still far too many uninteresting stretches, but maybe, just maybe, Earth isn’t completely irrelevant quite yet.