Italy’s atmospheric black metal group Earth and Pillars seem to have come out of nowhere, forming in 2014 and releasing a debut album Earth I not long after in the same year. It’s a great release for such a new band, Earth and Pillars create a rich wall of sound, bursting with power and beauty.
Earth I is made up of four tracks, the first being a near enough six minute intro. With the sound of the wind and the rain alongside synth and guitar textures it’s a dense organic sound which really sets the scene for the black metal that’s to come. Earth and Pillars create a massive sound, with all the instruments combining to create a fantastic atmosphere. The guitar sound is immense, a huge wall of sharp and trebly distorted riffs, with some high pitched almost psychedelic tremolo picking over the top. A lot of melody comes from this picking as well as the gorgeous wall of synth, while the low end is massive too. The bass rumbles away with a great rhythm in time with the drums which you’d never believe are processed. With this low end and huge guitar sound it manages to create a very heavy and powerful atmosphere, but with the lush synths and high pitched melodies it’s as beautiful as it is intense, the production job is fantastic it all comes together in a thick powerful wall, but with each instrument having great clarity. It manages to be all at once hypnotic and very intense. The occasional vocals are quite low in the mix, the screams nothing noteworthy but effective.
With the three tracks proper named Rivers, Lakes and Tides, it’s no surprise how well each of the tracks flows, with the power of rushing water, and even with the former at 17 minutes it never outstays it’s welcome. It’s mostly mid paced and the repetitive melodies are hypnotic, but the interchanges between melodies, and between softer and more intense parts give it that excellent flow. The album is mostly mid-paced, and the melodies are really strong, bristling with the energy and raw power of nature. You can almost smell the scent of the rain as it pounds down among the trees, the earthy atmosphere they create is so vivid. This also makes their softer sections more effective, like the gleam of sunlight breaking through as the rain dies down, and the delayed guitar melody on Rivers is a lovely if still haunting break.
For a new band this is a staggering release with a massive sound, and for any fans of nature themed atmospheric black metal this is a must listen.