Earth and Pillars – Pillars I (Avantgarde Music)Tuesday, 29th November 2016
Drawn-out black metal can either do one of two things: Hypnotize, or, allow one to fetch a snack and ride the thing out. Harboring on monotony, repetition, and atmosphere, the idea is to usually swallow up a song’s foundation with riffs played on a near-endless loop. And since song structure is a forgotten concept, it’s hard to quantity what’s being presented as actual songs. Italy’s Earth and Pillars certainly don’t write “songs” on their second full-length Pillars I, but rather long-form pieces designed to test the balance of patience, all the while rummaging through a thick haze of cacophony.
The band saw fit to dump four songs on Pillars I, then tack on a synth-only bonus disc, hence the “I” next to the album title. With a production job resting somewhere between hazy and near-basement, there’s little to grasp onto when it comes to riff and chord structure from these gents. Either they’re engaged in a climatic blast-a-thon (“Pillars”) or hunkering down in the above-mentioned realms of immobile repetition (“Penn”). But what does work is the well-placed atmospheric portions found in the middle of “Myth.” Providing a much-needed break from the onslaught, Earth and Pillars manage to work in grace and dynamics in between near-indecipherable motifs.
“Myth” may be the only song of true quality on Pillars I, an album that foregoes distinction in favor of a singular pace that is the utter personification of tunnel-vision atmospheric black metal. While that’s fine and dandy, the real question exists: Will Earth and Pillars ever write an actual tune?