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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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on 23 June 2005
Oh my God! - I have had this album on continuous repeat play for the last week! The beautiful simplicity of the chiming guitars, the glorious washes of noise, even the tribal (almost childish) percussions gets into your head and stays there.
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on 14 November 2003
Forget your Coheed & Cambrias' and Mars Voltas', this is the album of 2003. Explosions in the Sky return with the best post-rock album since gybe! bombarded us with lift yr. skinny fists!.
If you loved Those Who Tell The Truth... on first listen you may be a little disappointed, as this album is a lot more melodic, laying off the well-used distortion pedal. Some would think this would make EITS lose their edge; wrong. The result we have is 5 tracks of pure beauty, with slow builds and superb percussion. Each track draws the listener further in, making you wonder whether the cd can get any better as it progresses. Amazingly, it does, even bringing in the distortion once or twice just to show you they can still truly rock.
2003 has a been a great year for music; EITS make the best of the best.
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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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on 12 January 2004
The Explosions' first album was a CD of utter joy; blissful, melodic tones with the most relaxing and calm chords softly plucked on a variety of warm, soothing guitars.
This, the latest LP from the Texan aces of post-rock, takes the concept even further!
It only has five tracks, but the album itself is a good 45 minutes, and what a 45 minutes the CD provides. I played it for the first time whilst stressed about an exam the following day - the stress has left me, 'though I've not revised yet! The music is so calming, yet so inspiring. It makes you physically want to engage in something creative, to achieve, and to enjoy yourself.
It shares a lot of similarities with Icelandic genii Sigur Ros, and is also vaguely reminiscent of some of the instrumental sections of earlier Doves tunes, and some of the soundtrack to top Brit film 28 Days Later. It's mainly guitar-based, but with powerful drum beats, chimes, and little touches of inventiveness in between the octaves.
If you're the type who gets stressed very easily over seemingly nothing, if you're after a CD of spectacularly soulful instrumental music, or simply want a background selection of music whilst you have some friends over for a chat and some drinks, I urge you to buy this.
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on 8 November 2015
Recommended as background music for studying, I bought the album to try out. Tracks are a bit shorter than I hoped, however the album is top notch. Great for playing through headphones while you focus on learning.
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