Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davies don’t really need any introductions: they’re the duo embodying the moniker Earth since 2001, when the guitarist decided to wake it up from its tormented sleep of a few years. As you might know, the second coming of this project came to explore contiguous territories, yet quite different from the extremely heavy drone-doom that characterized it throughout the ’90s, up to the sheer eruption of creativity and expression that the duo experienced in particular between the late ’00s and the mid-’10s.
From the quasi-shamanic psychedelia of The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull featuring Hammond organ and piano, to the cosmic diptych of starry nights in the desert Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light (with the cello played by Lori Goldston), up to the very solid stoner-doom of Primitive And Deadly, where we even had the chance to appreciate some rare vocals thanks to the guests Mark Lanegan and Rabi Shabeen Qazi. After the huge amount of cooperations and sonic explorations, of astral visions that marked the Souther Lord era of Earth, also visually speaking, this time the duo had something quite different in mind.
After five years from the previous album and not many other things released in between, the collaboration with Sargent House opened with a pretty eloquent cover: the faces of Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davies on a black background. With Full Upon Her Burning Lips the duo literally adopted a down to Earth approach; no guests, no vocals, a creative process that featured the both of them practically in equal parts (which was relatively rare in the past). We are dealing with some sort of psychedelic drone rock, in some ways going back to a simpler song structure, with only two tracks clocking at over seven minutes. Coincidentally, one of these is the opener “Datura’s Crimson Veils”, with which Earth decided to take us — without any sudden pulls — towards a new meditation between nature, cosmos and feminine principle. Slightly over an hour of music in which Carlson put all his love for the riff, for repetition and sound stratification, following the tempo defined with great skill as usual by Davies; for a quick taste, I’ll recommend the catchy (for their standards) “Cats On The Briar”, in which we go on a cat watching trip à la Earth.
Naturally, don’t expect carefree and simple walks in and around nature; especially from “The Colour Of Poison” onwards, the sound becomes darker and heavier, as percussions take up more and more room. Once again, the two musicians prove themselves as one of the main influences for an ever-growing area of occult and atmospheric metal (the name Messa comes to my mind), successfully managing to render an entirely instrumental minimal — and deliberately repetitive — album of over an hour something that we actually want to listen to. The fascinating sorcery of Full Upon Her Burning Lips is in fact an element that was still missing in the new Earth‘s discography, something that was so evidently and undoubtedly theirs, a fruit of mutual contamination and balance between two people.
After other emotionally and atmospherically charged episodes like “Maiden’s Catafalque”, the album reaches a quasi post-rock conclusion with “A Wretched Country Of Dusk”, a worried reflection — though with some glimmers of hope — about the dusk that descended on the Country. A Country which is not necessarily related to a specific material reference, but maybe more of a human concept in general. In conclusion, Earth‘s Full Upon Her Burning Lips is another important monolith in the temple of their music, which has by now become a cromlech inspiring hundreds of bands from all over the world.