Combined review of „the bees made honey in the lion’s skull“ (southern lord) and their live appearance at Lido in Berlin(D) February, 27th 2008.
Once again Earth returned to European’s stages. Not too surprisingly the live sound was a steady and droning march, circumflowing the audience like black lava. Accentuating feedbacks and organs drone the chiming melodies of Dylan Carlson and wind themselves through the epic soundscapes. His guitar play obviously leans to traditional americana nowadays which helped the songs to evolve a stirring impact on the audience. Adding more bits of psychedelia the interplay of lights and sound intensified the dull ambience of the live show even more.
Moreover it was amazing to see how Carlson has accreted to his members over the last years. Instead of being a backing band of the mastermind Steve Moore, Adrienne Davis and Don McGreevy did their best for a collective sound of Earth. Especially, the expressive solos of organ player and trumpeter Steve Moore added a jazzy vibe to the band’s slow jams and helped to enrich the dark diamond called Earth with another shimmering, brilliant facet.
Core of the live show were the songs of the latest album „the bees made honey in the lion skull“. The biblical reference in the title fits well to the songs which bear kind of an pastoral astringency fusing gospel, americana, minimal music and obviously doom rock. Over the course of seven songs, Carlson and his comrades delivers the soundtrack for a procession. In slow motion, like a cortege, the songs crawl through seas of drone and reverberation so that they are morphing imperceptibly and the listener is unable to spot the change.
Anyhow centre of the album are the slowly creeping guitar and organ melodies that evolve over the course of the songs giving the single note as much space as the pause and the reverb. On the whole, „the bees“ is the most melody-oriented album in the band history while it is converting the better part of the American music history for it’s own aim: the beauty of slowly ascending clean melodies over a constant drone of reverb. Just listen to the minimalist elegancy of „carrion crown“’s five-tone melody or „miami morning“’s circular solos at the climax. While it triggers a variety of associations like angst, nostalgia, panic, dissolution „the bees“ becomes a soundtrack to the existential in life.