This is a tricky one. You see, it’s not that Earthrise aren’t very good – they are, in fact excellent at what they do – it’s just that after sitting through the entirety of Eras Lost – that’s fifty long minutes my friend, although it does feel longer – you find yourself wondering why the world needs yet another ‘post metal’ band, if at all.
I mean, it all starts promisingly enough – following a brief vocal sample, a huge, ugly thudding wall of guitar and bass detonates out of nowhere, dropped like a bomb from clear skies, followed by a thick ‘n’ nasty bassline and some superb snaking Botch-a-like delayed guitar. So far, so good, right?
The vocals come a-roaring in and, well, this is where the problems start. Vocalist Tom Hillmann is possessed of a painfully generic ‘post metal’ sore-throated roar. Seriously, I’ve heard this exact same style used countless times over the past few years, usually when hardcore dudes ‘go post metal’, and it really contributes one hell of a lot toward making Earthrise sound, well, basically exactly the same as every other ‘post metal’ band you’d care to mention. Cult Of Luna, Mouth of The Architect, Rosetta…..completely interchangeable. In fact, Rosetta rear their collective heads again when listening to the guitar-work of Mike Britson, along with the very noticeable afore-mentioned Botch.
The spiralling, layered, looping-back-upon-itself math-twiddle delay pile-up of Botch axeman Dave Knudson is aaaalll over Eras Lost, as well as the brutal chordings interspersed with jarring squeals that make up the more aggressive side of records like We Are The Romans. Hell, even bassist Andy Rutledge has a monster tone not a million miles away from Botch’s Brian Cook.
See my problem? Eras Lost sounds great – the production is airy enough to let the individual instruments breathe but still tight enough to allow for moments of total heaviosity, with Jimmy Neumann’s drums in particular benefiting from the sense of space – and everyone involved plays well, it’s just that we’ve heard it all before. Many times, sadly.
The fact that every track lumbers along at near enough the same mid-tempo pace, including more visceral tracks such as ‘Titan’ and closer ‘Frame Dragging’, means that the entire album tends to merge into one amorphous entity, and this is what causes Eras Lost to drag so much. The one example of a sped-up, hardcore-style tempo, during ‘Eighteen Hundred’, sits mightily uncomfortably with everything else around it and sounds decidedly forced. A lack of variation in pace and a reliance on the exact same instrument and vocal tones throughout makes for a very dull listening experience indeed. Every track feels simply like a continuation of the previous one – ‘Relentless’ feels less like a stand-alone track and more like an extended coda to ‘Polar Low’, with ‘Relentless’ itself bleeding directly into ‘Mirovia’. The actual differences between individual tracks are negligible to non-existent, as the building blocks of Eras Lost in its entirety are near-as-dammit identical.
It really pains me to be so overwhelmingly negative about a recording that Earthrise have clearly spent a lot of time and energy on but the fact is, sterling performances and excellent production aside, this is a record that really did not need to be made.
The musicians involved clearly have the skill needed to make good music so I can’t help but wonder exactly why they bothered to make just another ‘post-metal’ record. A more adventurous vocalist might have been able to save Eras Lost, to some extent, but would that simply be papering over the cracks?
Please, no more of these. We’ve had more than enough.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Paul Robertson