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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2003
Faced with the difficult task of bettering the superb 'Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever', Explosions In The Sky have done just that with 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place'.
The tone of the album is more consistent this time around, with predominantly clean, high-register guitars weaving beautiful, intricate melodies around each other. With sparser use of the distortion pedals than on 'Those Who Tell Truth...' (which inevitably led to comparisons of that album with much of Mogwai's early work), the shifts in dynamics are more subtle, but no less effective. Opener 'First Breath After Coma' starts with a single plucked guitar note, soon joined by a delicate chiming two-note progression, until skittering percussion enters. The track builds momentum with clean guitars shimmering like The Edge with less reverb, before it falls into eerie ambience from which rises a simple, repetitive interplay between two guitars, eventually overwhelmed by splashing cymbals and a slowly rising, buzzing, droning distortion.
'The Only Moment We Were Alone' is even more impressive, the band wielding delicate beauty and overwhelming power with equal aplomb. The dynamic fluctuations are breathtaking and the track ends with the album's heaviest moment, the most crushingly cathartic, yet desperately gorgeous noise committed to record this year.
The remaining three tracks offer more of the same, all maintaining the high standards set by the first two. Some may complain that this consistency of tone makes 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' a little too samey, but the quality and invention of the melodic interplay between the guitars and the spot-on percussion make this a thoroughly engaging album from start to finish. You might even be able to get your friends who dismiss the post-rock in your record collection to love it, and praise for this type of instrumental music doesn't come much higher than that...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2004
I find the comparisons with 'godspeed you black emperor' and 'mogwai' easy to hear, its slow, its mainly guitars and lacks vocals, in fact there are none on here. There the comparison ends as explosions in the sky leaves you with something you don't always associate with quiet, fragile music and that is an overwhelming sense of optimism.
I feel that there are no 'songs' on here, rather sections or movements as almost all of the 5 tracks are well over 8 minutes long and it could easily play as one 45 minute piece of music.
Although slow, there are constant pace changes throughout, and of course explosions which don't happen too often and are perfectly placed, theres no 'quiet/loud/quiet' formula on here, the loud parts come when needed then disapear back into the sky.
The music itself is haunting, beautiful and dripping in reverb. There are some parts you will have in your head all day wondering if they really created all those sounds and textures with a few guitars and drums, bin your synth and sack your vocalist - the future of rock is here. Ok, perhaps thats a bit much. But the world is not a cold dead place, and this album only confirms that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2004
Not the apocalyptic soundscapes of other 'post-whatever' bands, but the soundtrack to the big, important moments in tiny, insignificant lives.
Shows a definite progression from the excellent 'Those Who Tell the Truth' LP towards a far more intricate sound, where dynamic, melodic and harmonic lines twist and weave around each other to create something truly breathtaking.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2005
Well, although the one bad review is vastly outnumbered, and having recently bought 'the earth is not a cold dead place' I felt compelled to set the record straight, in a way.
Yes, Explosions ARE working within the structure of post-rock, and of course parallels cannot help but be made with GSYBE, Mogwai, Silver Mount Zion etc...(this has happened, and will always happen throughout the music industry), but the thing to be remembered is that Explosions have offered us here an absolute masterpiece of atmospheric, enchanting, blistering musical magic. The touch, feel and delicacy of gaps between the 'explosions' leaves you salivating, incapacitated and utterly disarmed...then comes the perfection in timing and restraint within the build-ups, to eventually send your heart and soul into orbit through the ferocious musical 'orgasms'. They have used a structure put in place by the pioneers of post-rock, and discarded the angst, isolation and chilling emptiness so apparent within many other similar bands....leaving pure, unadultered beauty and optimism throughout. Absolutely stunning....if I could choose a soundtrack to die to, then my search is over.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2003
Mentioning Explosions In The Sky in the same breath as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, perhaps the two most well-known exponents of (mostly) instrumental rock music, is common practice for journos, reviewers, and complete amateurs like myself. I would gather this comparison is something of a mixed blessing for this excellent Texan outfit. In some ways it helps turn people on to their music, and fans of such bands will no doubt find something to love in Explosions In The Sky. However, I believe this record will also appeal to a broader range of music fans.
Having stumbled across the excellent “Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever”, I was in some way both prepared for, and very much looking forward to Explosions In The Sky’s next album. This record had a lot to live up to, and I am glad to say it has. Perhaps more subtle, and certainly less rocky than “Those Who…”, this new album is also a step forward for Explosions In The Sky. It sounds breathtaking: beautiful melodies, unforced build-ups, and chiming guitars. It proves guitars, bass, and drums can still be used to create something fresh if put together well enough. No-one is likely to want to switch the stereo off and check the window to see if the world really has ended, but this record is still emotional. Explosions In The Sky sound like a band enjoying themeselves as everything around them goes up in smoke. The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place after all.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2005
This is beautiful music, but post-rockers -- particularly those who prefer the more raucous moments of GYBE, Mogwai etc. -- may initially feel somewhat underwhelmed. This is something altogether prettier, with chiming, brittle guitar lines forming the (fragile) backbone of every track. If Coldplay went prog and Chris Martin stopped singing it might sound like this -- and that's meant to be a compliment, by the way.
There are crescendos, of course; there is martial drumming. There are long, meandering tracks. This is definitely post-rock. But it's an altogether more ethereal take on the genre, wistful rather than angst-ridden.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2003
Faced with the difficult task of bettering the superb 'Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever', Explosions In The Sky have done just that with 'Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place'.
The tone of the album is more consistent this time around, with predominantly clean, high-register guitars weaving beautiful, intricate melodies around each other. With sparser use of the distortion pedals than on 'Those Who Tell Truth...' (which inevitably led to comparisons of that album with much of Mogwai's early work), the shifts in dynamics are more subtle, but no less effective. Opener 'First Breath After Coma' starts with a single plucked guitar note, soon joined by a delicate chiming two-note progression, until skittering percussion enters. The track builds momentum with clean guitars shimmering like The Edge with less reverb, before it falls into eerie ambience from which rises a simple, repetitive interplay between two guitars, eventually overwhelmed by splashing cymbals and a slowly rising, buzzing, droning distortion.
'The Only Moment We Were Alone' is even more impressive, the band wielding delicate beauty and overwhelming power with equal aplomb. The dynamic fluctuations are breathtaking and the track ends with the album's heaviest moment, the most crushingly cathartic, yet desperately gorgeous noise committed to record this year.
The remaining three tracks offer more of the same, all maintaining the high standards set by the first two. Some may complain that this consistency of tone makes 'Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' a little too samey, but the quality and invention of the melodic interplay between the guitars and the spot-on percussion make this a thoroughly engaging album from start to finish. You might even be able to get your friends who dismiss the post-rock in your record colleaction to love it, and praise for this type of instrumental music doesn't come much higher than that...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2009
Instrumental rock never sounded so good.

This category of music gets mixed responses from people, through my own experience of introducing Explosions In The Sky to friends and family over the years.

This is by far their greatest album, or in my opinion it is. Welcome, Ghosts is a sublime start, and the whole album feels like a constant flow, to the point where you barely realise the song has changed until youre 2 or 3 songs into the album. The guitar work is eerily atmospheric, but in a good way. It puts guitarists like The Edge from U2 into a lower class.

And then the finale, Your Hand In Mine, arguably their greatest song. Ive never felt such emotion coming from one song. Its the kind of song that could sweep you away in the evenings, leaving you feeling completely relaxed. Its incredible how a song can have such an affect.

For anyone that hasnt experienced Explosions In The Sky, do yourself a favour and watch Friday Night Lights. Yes its about college football in America, but almost all of the music is done by Explosions In The Sky, and every song is used at just the right moment throughout the film, punching home the emotions experienced by the players and keeps you captivated in every scene.

A must-buy for anyone even considering sampling this band.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2004
Wow. This really is an outstanding album. I don't think i can do it justice with words, but if you like instrumental rock this really is an album worth buying. I am sure they must get sick of being compared to Godspeed You Black Emperor and with all due respect to them I think they have done something geniunely original with this album. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2009
Here's 2 ways to listen this album -

1. Shut your curtains, Lie down and shut your eyes.
2. Get your ipod, press play and run.

You will feel every piece of stress become unimportant as this album takes you away, whichever option you choose. Either way, if you appreciate soothing sound vistas this will be for you.
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