Saturday, 24 March 2018

Earthless - Black Heaven (Album Review)

Release date: March 16th 2018. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Black Heaven – Tracklisting

Gifted By The Wind
End To End
Electric Flame
Volt Rush
Black Heaven
Sudden End


Mario Rubalcaba
Isaiah Mitchell
Mike Eginton


Earthless have always been masters of their own audio reality, channelling a mix of Sabbath-esque power with ZZ Top inspired hard rocking boogie and the laid back and free vibe of their Californian homeland to create joyful soundscapes and on their masterful new album Black Heaven (a title inspired by the Joshua Tree night sky where the album was recorded) they let loose a mixture of sheer power, tight knit musical grooves and an improvised sense of freedom.

Aside from their awesome split release with Harsh Toke a couple of years ago, the band haven't released any material since 2013s From The Ages album but with Black Heaven, they blast back in fine style with an assured and potent return packed full of the riffs, groove and attitude that they are renowned for.

Black Heaven kicks off with the free flowing Gifted By The Wind, a song that alongside the driving energy and catchy riffs is a fine line in harmonica playing that compliments the song brilliantly and gets the album off to a rocking start and doesn't let up until the last notes from the albums beautifully mournful closing track Sudden End have rung out.

Tracks like the rolling Electric Flame and the aptly named Volt Rush (with a special mention of the killer guitar solos on this one) have a focus to them that gives off an awesome sense of both urgency and energy and both of theses tracks are non stop

The tracks again are largely massive instrumental freak outs but with the added addition of vocals on this album (only two of the six tracks on Black Heaven are wholly instrumental) and when those crooned vocals of guitarist/singer Isaiah Mitchell do surface, they sound immense and only enhance the cavernous Earthless sound even further and fit perfectly.

Drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton also play faultlessly throughout and their groove combined by the non stop riffs from Mitchell creates an epic sound (just check out the huge and epic freak out that is the albums title track for proof)

The album as a whole can be summed up as a mixture of their laid back nature and that energetic focus and with Black Heaven, Earthless have made an album that resonates sunshine, good vibes and above all, good times but with a vital edge full of energy and vivacity and is a sublime album perfect for the upcoming hazy summer months.

Words by Gavin Brown

Thanks to Monica at SpeakEasy PR for the promo. Black Heaven is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl now via Nuclear Blast Records.