Mike Eginton, Mario Rubalcaba, and Isaiah Mitchell. Three flawless musicians on their own, but together tap into this otherworldly energy and fuse it into this outstanding music I never want to turn off. Earthless has spilled through my speakers for years with Sonic Prayer being a random vinyl purchase a while back because it looked cool but little did I know I would be hooked for life. Needless to say, January 28th was highlighted on my calendar since the day the news broke for the release of Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons.
I pressed play with overwhelming excitement and a bit of nervousness. It can be difficult to listen to a new album from a beloved band because you always have an expectation of how you want the album to go, even if you go in with an open mind. It can be disheartening when you don’t connect with the newer music from bands you’ve listened to for years and we’ve all been there. I won’t point any fingers at anyone, Pearl Jam.
Ahhh, who am I kidding, Earthless can do no wrong. I’m two seconds into the opening track and it has already captured my attention. Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons, Pt. 1 starts with a volume swell of crashing cymbals and the greatest guitar tone. The slightly broken-up clean tone from the perfectly pushed amp combined with a reverb and delay create my personal favorite sounds. The seemingly random lead guitar puts you into a trance and it’s absolutely beautiful to listen to. The cavernous guitar accompanied by more cymbals and spacey droning soundscapes continues for six minutes. I personally love the use of Wah, where Isaiah plays a faster lead but slowly sweeps the Wah. The opposite of Tim Sult of Clutch’s record-breaking foot speed, which also sounds cool, just different.
Six minutes and forty seconds in and we reach a moment of silence. But only a moment because pummeling drums and explosive riffs fill the air in a powerful way. Play it loud enough and you can feel the air being displaced in the room. Earthless only tease the ambient nature of the album and feed long-time fans with an epic thirteen extra minutes of classic Earthless to complete this masterpiece.
Eginton and Rubalcaba lock in the rhythm section and move between the sections effortlessly, creating the platform for which Mitchell can sing with his guitar…
Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons, Pt. 2 takes us back down and this time it’s Mario’s time to shine. The instantly catchy drum beat repeats with little variations and fills. Easily one of my favorite drum beats. It lays a perfect foundation for Isaiah’s haunting space-like tones to ebb and flow over the top. Mario keeps the pace going with the jungle-esque drum line, but the soothing psychedelic mood becomes more intense as the song progresses. By the end, each member is playing to their fullest, it’s quite amazing to hear. There is a powerful wall of sound that closes out Part 2 and leads us into the finale.
As the third track begins, you can witness the musicianship by focusing on how Eginton and Rubalcaba lock in the rhythm section and move between the sections effortlessly, creating the platform for which Mitchell can sing with his guitar. Who needs a singer when the guitar melodies he creates can, and will, capture your attention as good as any vocalist. To prove that theory, I’ve been listening to this album, I keep getting drawn into the music where I find time slips away and even after the songs have ended, the melodies continue to dance in my mind.
I digress, Death To The Red Sun, concludes this album in a grand way. The tempos increase as the song progresses and Isaiah shows what he is truly capable of with a guitar in his hands. Mike holds down the bass matching the speed and skill of Isaiah with ease, while Mario pummels the shit out of the drums to the point where I’d think he’d need a backup kit at a live gig. The ambient beginnings of this album are satisfied by the strong epic conclusion, and this has everything I could ever want in an album tucked nicely into the three track LP.
Earthless have some high-ranking albums in my book, and I haven’t had the opportunity to see them live yet. When I finally do, there are some older songs I would like to experience live, but having said that, if they only played Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons in its entirety, I would leave the show one happy guy.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider