The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is the fifth full length album from Earth and the second from them to feature the fully Instrumental cinematic and ‘clean’ sound that they adopted from the early 2000’s.
Earth carry on in the vein of their 2005 album Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method with clean, country-esque guitar lines, big, slow yet dynamic drum beats and droney background instrumentation. In ‘Bees’ this style is further refined with the piano and hammond organ sounds playing a big part throughout the whole album
The album opens with Omens and Portents I: The Driver, starting the album with a guitar theme creating the body of the song along with subtle modulated guitar sounds and piano layered within its melody. This is accompanied by a constant background drone from a guitar along with laid back drum beats – setting the mood for the album.
The piano and clean guitar continue to provide the base for the next song, Rise to Glory with a guitar feedback solo section and unexpected suspended chords – definitely adding a twist of tension to the track.
Miami Morning Coming Down II (Shine) – (a continuation from Miami Morning Coming Down on 2006’s Hibernaculum EP) showcases a little more structure but doesn’t skimp on the atmosphere – soaring country style guitar bends add tension while Hammond organ parts keep the droney nature of the album going.
Engine of ruin provides one of the most memorable hooks on the album- based around a slow paced bluesy piano line with heaps of atmosphere added from the guitar and drums – A standout track.
The blues and country influence is even more apparent as the album continues with Omens and Portents II: Carrion Crow and the piano heavy Hung from the moon both containing passages that wouldn’t be out of place in an old western movie soundtrack.
The title track closes the album with probably the most ‘dreamy’ song with some calming guitar melodies and a constant background drone from what I suspect is guitar feedback but sounds a lot like a Tambura or sitar adding a heavy ‘Eastern’ sounding drone to the proceedings.
This album contains hints of post-rock, country and drone music without stylistically completely fitting any of them. It has quite a consistent atmosphere throughout the album with a heavily triumphant but laid back feel. That being said, there are a fair share of darker and moodier moments for contrast. This may not be an album for everyone, but those who like instrumental or atmospheric rock music, drone or even folk and world music should give this one a good listen.