Artwork Credit: Rodrigo Almanegra
It’s always heartening to hear new music that’s completely original, a blend of existing styles put together beautifully in a way that doesn’t sound quite like any of them.
Brighton’s Earth Moves, on their debut LP The Truth in Our Bodies, have done just that. Beautifully blending elements of metal, post-hardcore, shoegaze and post-rock, Earth Moves have created a sound that is not only entirely their own, but that one that throughout The Truth in Our Bodies takes the listener on an intense, visceral journey. This is an album that takes a while to get used to, especially with the pairing of sometimes-grating screamo-styled vocals with expansive, post-metal soundscapes; but also one that’s incredibly rewarding on repeat listens.
Different influences on The Truth in Our Bodies colour different tracks: for example, opener track Omen has big, doomy, sludge metal riffs complimenting the ambience of its mellower backing; while House of Flowers combines blackgaze with melancholic post-rock sound textures, and later in the track, more post-hardcore influences.
There are plenty of influences worn on Earth Moves’ sleeve throughout The Truth in Our Bodies, most noticeably Japanese post-rockers Mono, who in their more soundscaping, post-rock influenced moments, seem to have informed Earth Moves guitar tone. This, and the assertion that influences are obvious, are not to suggest that Earth Moves are derivative – far from it. They meld pieces of these influences into their own cohesive sound and their music is all the better for it.
Iridescent starts off as one of The Truth in Our Bodies‘ heavier tracks, featuring full-on aggressive black metal riffing and blast beats, but moves in a number of different directions, musically. Firstly it moves more into blackgaze territory by toning done the intense heaviness a bit, before progressing to a section that juxtaposes passionate screamed vocals against slight, subtle instrumentation. This all cumulates in a stunning, transcendent post-metal latter part that pulls off both heaviness and nuance. It’s this ability to move between styles, as well as to continually stun the listener with an exceptional marriage of musicianship and emotion, that really makes Earth Moves stand out from the crowd.
There Was An Apple Orchard Here has the most obvious shoegaze influence of all the tracks on The Truth in Our Bodies, especially in its intro, featuring reverb-y guitar taken straight from the school of Slowdive, but integrates this with the already established elements of Earth Moves’ expansive sound. It’s still a heavy track, like the rest of The Truth In Our Bodies, but the heightened dreaminess and change of pace gives a variety and stops things from becoming too samey.
Penultimate track Pia Mater stands out in an album that’s already exceptional, being incredibly intense, moreso than other tracks on The Truth in Our Bodies and stretching Earth Moves‘ sound to its absolute limit, it moves between brutally heavy, apocalyptic metal, subdued post-rock and emotional post-hardcore, in a way reminiscent of, but more seamlessly than, the rest of the album.
The album finishes on Breathing Solemnity Into the Deep Night, a slower track that makes more use of Earth Moves’ post-rock and shoegaze influences for the most part, that is, until its final two minutes, during which it launches into an unforgivingly heavy onslaught of post-metal and black metal, ending the album on yet another visceral note.
The Truth in Our Bodies is not an easy listen by any stretch of imagination, and as previously noted, does require repeated listens to reap its benefits; however, its merit cannot be overstated and it stands out not only as a late-year highlight of 2016, but one of the best, most interesting and original albums to be released this year.
Standout Tracks: Iridescent, Pia Mater
For Fans Of: Deafheaven, Neurosis, Mono
Written by: Alan Cunningham