Dylan Carlson is to his guitar what Gandalf is to his staff – a fucking wizard. No matter what era of Earth is your favourite – from the early days of gargantuan drones to today’s blues-tinged efforts – Carlson has always been at the helm working his magic. True enough, Earth may have lost their way a little bit; seemingly everything that came after the masterful guitar work featured on ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’ was a bit of a directionless shambles. ‘Primitive and Deadly’ sees Earth back on top form, with a brand new perspective of their sound and the possible start of something entirely different for the band.
What makes this particular release so special, aside from the dense multi-tracked guitars, is that this is the first Earth release to feature vocals since 1996. However, this time it isn’t Carlson providing the chorales; he’s roped in both Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees) and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) to help. Lanegan’s voice is both thunderous and soulful, however, it doesn’t stand out all that much on ‘There is a Serpent Coming’ and ‘Rooks Across the Gate’, instead it blends into the lattice work of the richly textured guitars and roots itself there, giving the impression that vocals simply belong within Earth’s framework and aren’t a new addition.
Rabia’s contribution to ‘From the Zodiacal Light’ is undoubtedly the album’s highlight – her voice is purpose built for fronting bands like this and her voice is bewitching as well as fulfilling. She rises above the instrumentals, the drums and guitars simply provide a platform for her to deliver her offerings. ‘Primitive and Deadly’ gives fans a reason to be excited by Earth again; this is a promising rebirth for the band and hopefully just the beginning of bigger and better things to come.
(7.5/10 Angela Davey)