For the last few weeks, I’ve been mostly listening to music wallowing in misery, sickness and despair. Predominantly post metal and some experimental stuff. It agreed with me, but like someone eating the same meal every day for days on end, I got tired of it. Everything began sounding the same, everybody seemed to be using the same ringing guitar riff. Everybody seemed depressed. So, I decided that I needed a change, and Earth Ship’s new album Resonant Sun appeared just at the right time on our review list.
I’m not that great a fan of stoner, doom and sludge metal, but Earth Ship caught my attention, because they have a sensible looking woman playing bass. I have some positive bias towards metal bands with female band members (as long as those band members don’t look like dolls). If I encounter such a band, I usually check them out.
The landscape of stoner, doom and sludge bands, where Earth Ship ply their trade, is not exactly filled with women. As I’ve written before, metal is one of the last strongholds of masculinity, and stoner and sludge metal is where the “real” men hide. You can literally hear the testosterone in the music. That’s why I was curious to hear what Earth Ship sound like and what kind of vibe they give off.
The first track I listened to was Whiplash, because the band had pre-released it with a video from a live performance. After my aforementioned musical diet, that track was really something. The tempo, the brawniness, the sheer power of the music appealed to me instantly. Whiplash goes from 0 to 100 in milliseconds. It features killer drumming, great guitar riffs and vicious vocals. The beginning of the track is certainly among the best and most effective I have ever heard. And how does it feel? Ausgezeichnet. To stick to the food analogy from the beginning: imagine a devoted carnivore having had to live on a vegan diet being served meat and potatoes for the first time in weeks.
After this, I gladly gave the whole album a listen, the first of many, and I must say that I really like Resonant Sun. All in all, Earth Ship play very satisfying music, and it’s not all meat and potatoes either. You can hear various influences, in fact, you can hear the history of metal in the band’s rich and mighty sound: from Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, and Motörhead to classic stoner rock, grunge, sludge and doom. There’s even some psychedelia and a touch of blues. But don’t think of it as a hodgepodge. It’s put together really well. Also, the force, the tempo and the strength of the music, even the sometimes rather aggressive vocals, are very life-affirming. That’s nice for a change. Earth Ship, it seems to me, are very German, because they are very good at what they are doing. A lot of bands are trying to combine older and newer sounds, particularly stoner and seventies rock, but Earth Ship are doing a far better job than the majority of those bands. I also quite like the fact that husband and wife Jan and Sabine Oberg are doing this job together – supported, of course, by their excellent drummer Sebastian Grimberg.
Of the album’s eight tracks, there are only one or two I’m not so fond off, Smoked Filled Sky and River of Salt. Smoked Filled Sky, and to some extent also River of Salt, have that dull, testosterone-soaked vibe I’m not partial to. My favourite tracks are Barren, Resonant Sun, Dormant, and Whiplash of course (Yes, I know that’s half of the album, but I can’t decide on one favourite). The title track Resonant Sun has probably the greatest potential of becoming a hit, and not only among genre fans. It has clear vocals, is melodious and harmonious and the album’s most classically beautiful song.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years now, and I really can’t imagine ever eating meat again. Musically, however, I’m an omnivore: I pretty much like everything that’s good. If you are in any way like me, you will quickly hear and recognize the quality of this German three-piece from Berlin.
I might even venture to Berlin to see them and pester some people I haven’t seen in almost two decades to let me sleep on their couch.