Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method
(Southern Lord Records) Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1 Perhaps some of you will be familiar with the previous four releases of these Seattle natives, whose lengthy history goes as far back as the early 90's, when they teamed up with Subpop Records. Though I am at a disadvantage for having no prior knowledge of Earth's works, this gives me the opportunity to view this album for what it is - a single work.
Imagine a farm in, say, Alabama. Perhaps it has a barn, as pictured on the album's cover. You've grown up here your entire life, and remember it vividly, even since you've moved away years ago. Shortly after moving out, it was consumed by fires, resulting in the total loss of life and property. Yet, there's a place in your mind you can visit to reflect on this land - a very dreary place, that should be lobotomized. You hear the winds carrying the fire-swept ashes of your memories, and you feel the emptiness of desolation.
Or maybe you imagine something else. But "Hex…" definitely takes you somewhere with their elemental and earthy grooves. The crawling guitar and baritone reverberate for miles, creating the humm that is both depressive and expressive. Drums are added to keep pace - albeit a sluggish pace - and feel like the subtle heartbeat of this ambience. Though easily brushed off as background music, the more you let the vibes soak in, the more you understand the nature of this complexly simple southern dismalness.