The third album from Boston ensemble Ehnahre, Old Earth again finds the trio of Ricardo Donoso, John Carchia and Ryan McGuire (the latter two former members of avant-prog rockers Kayo Dot) exploring their unique fusion of hellish death-doom, blackened prog, avant-jazz and experimental composition with earth-scorching results. Old Earth opens with a distant rustling creeping out of a dank underground space, as the dusty, warbling strains of a 78 RPM record drift past, introducing the first track with an eerie haze of corroded, hallucinatory sound. As a terrifying chorus of operatic female howls suddenly waft out of cracks in the floor, the guitars appear, all alone and slowly weaving an ominous, dissonant melody as the listener is propelled further into Ehnahre’s twisted soundscape. It’s not long before the band tumbles into their trademark atonal death-doom—if anything, even more abstract here than previous releases. Resembling a cross between Disembowelment and Obscura-era Gorguts, the warped, noisy death metal folds in on itself, mutating into crushing, droning riffage.On the intensely creepy second track, double-bass, keyboards and delicate percussion take over, joined by the gorgeous and ghostly trumpets of guest musicians Greg Kelley (Heathen Shame) and Forbes Graham (Kayo Dot). It’s one of Ehnahre’s most spellbinding moments as the band ventures into an twilight world of avant-jazz fusion and shadowy atmospherics. The third movement winds back into bone-crushing death-doom, another monstrous wave of lurching heaviness and dissonant skronk spilling over into the final passage while bludgeoning, jagged death metal riffs underpin a lurching, lopsided dirge. Collapsing in dramatic fashion, the band decomposes back into the hallucinatory wash of sounds that began the album.As terrifying as it is haunting, Old Earth is an intensely challenging and completely unique offering from Ehnahre, who remain without peer in the metal / avant underground. With their most bleakly beautiful, burnt-out moments yet, the album’s otherworldly heaviness is immensely rewarding for the adventurous listener.
#1 Old Earth I
#2 Old Earth II
#3 Old Earth III
#4 Old Earth IV
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