Do you have any Earthless in your life? If the answer to that question is a resounding “no”, it’s time for you to remedy that immediately, and before you go searching for the back catalogue this San Diego three piece has accumulated in their years of existence, get your hands on a copy of their latest, and arguably greatest release ‘Black Heaven’, and I mean buy it! Don’t go trolling off to your favourite pirate site and download it, instead, splash some cash and strap in for some stone cold cosmic grooves.
‘Gifted By The Wind’ opens some surprisingly funky drums and full on seventies “wakka-wakka” guitar work, hearkening back to that golden age when everything didn’t have to be sub-divided into ever more niche categories, and it wasn’t a requirement for bands to be pigeon-holed into a single narrow gap. Remember, even Led Zeppelin grooved and tried their hands at reggae and world music, and that didn’t stop them being rock gods. Talking of that famous metallic dirigible Earthless demonstrate a similar level of exploration on the massive ‘End To End’, a meandering journey though rock in all its excesses with an opening wall of howling feedback followed by the sort of blues inspired musical explorations Messrs Page, Jones, and Bonham used to play off each other, and indeed, whilst with some classic riffs and a full on foot on the monitors solo the guitar could become dominant, and excellent work it is too by Isaiah Mitchell, instead the three instruments work together to create a greater whole.
The band’s hard rock journey continues with ‘Electric Flame’, an unashamed tribute to Earthless’s progenitors in the likes of BOC or Blue Cheer spanning eight minutes of excellence, and after the brief sprint of ‘Volt Rush’ the title track ‘Black Heaven’ thunders in lashings of swagger and confidence, a confidence that the band match with their instrumental competence, the number sounding like a free-form experimental jam, the improvisational sound of the track surely being a testament to tight cohesion of the band as nothing this good could be just thrown together, but must be the fruit born of many many hours hard practice to hone natural talent. The album finishes with ‘Sudden End’, a long laid back track that is anything but sudden, elements of Southern Rock and even the lush harmonies of folk rock being added into the psychedelic mix.
Whilst previously a far trippier and almost purely instrumental band in the past, with ‘Black Heaven’ Earthless have explored their hard rock ancestry and created an album that is both timeless in its sound, yet with the energy and vigour of a band hitting its stride. Only six tracks and forty minutes long, ‘Black Heaven’ comes to a close far too soon, and demands repeated plays. Buy it, get to the tour if you can, and prepare to be blown away.