|Band:||Earth And Pillars|
"Earth I" is a total album. If it is not the best Italian black metal album of the past five years, it is the second best Italian black metal album of the past five years (just because before it there would be Progenie Terrestre Pura's debut). We don't really know who the creators of this work are, since the trio is keeping their identities hidden, but they are not just a bunch of amateurs with no idea about what they're doing. On the other hand, we know all too well who was behind the production of this record, guess who? Yes, Avantgarde of course, as they seem to be unable to miss the target even once.
The album is packaged in an elegant A5 format — already sold out when I started writing this article, but it will be back soon in a new edition — accompanied by some nature photos taken by the frontman Z, while the visual design was done by the usual Tryfar (among other things, he has recently worked on the illustrations for the notable Hornwood Fell). Even before playing the record, the imagery desperately screams atmospheric black metal; however, instead of coming from the usual Pacific Northwest, this band hails from just behind the corner, from the country of pizza and mandolin. Four tracks, or better three plus an instrumental intro (about six minutes long), over fifty minutes of Cascadian canon perfectly mixed with the darkest and most alienating suggestions by Darkspace. Nature and the woods play here the same role that Wolves in The Throne Room had assigned to them in the immense "Diadem Of Twelve Stars", although Earth And Pillars manage to make their sound colder yet as enshrouding as the Weaver brothers'. The atmospheres in "Earth I" are really muffled and well amalgamated, perfect for a moment of reflection that has a precise beginning, but it doesn't have a definite goal and will only stop when you turn the music off.
At the beginning of the record, the trio starts developing their concept based on water (by reading the title, we can actually assume that the project will continue towards a larger naturalisic-elemental idea). The intro gradually gives way to rivers, lakes, and eventually tides, in a clear conceptual crescendo that is even concluded with lyrics inspired by "Mediterraneo" by the poet Eugenio Montale. In fact, in case we still had any doubts regarding the genre and the approach chosen by Earth and Pillars, the fact itself that they have drawn inspiration from "Cuttlefish Bones" ("Ossi Di Seppia") is a clear indication of the existential journey that this Italian band has taken.
Follow the water then, from the mountaintops down through the rivlets, all the way to the lake, and beyond, towards the azure spectacle that surrounds Italy. Albums like this are a rare find.