Saddled with unwelcome renown as the friend who brought Kurt Cobain the shotgun with which the Nirvana singer killed himself, Dylan Carlson also has cult cachet as a pioneer of drone metal with his band Earth.

Having shifted orbit into the darker outer reaches of psychedelic folk and blues on their last pair of albums, Carlson and company revert to the slow-motion Black Sabbath riffs of 20 years ago on Primitive and Deadly, as on the immense 10-minute instrumental “Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon”.

The style is loud and heavy, but thoughtful too, Carlson deploying his guitar drones and fried solos not so much to brutalise the listener as open up space for contemplation.

But the album stumbles with the incorporation of guest vocalists on three of the five tracks: Mark Lanegan’s turn on “There Is a Serpent Coming”, growling about “creepy-crawlies” scuttling from the pages of Revelations, is particularly hammy.


Primitive and Deadly

(Southern Lord)

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