Earth Moves – ‘Human Intricacy’

By Liam Knowles

It’s nearly December, which means that journalists (and music nerds in general) have started compiling their ‘Album Of The Year’ lists, hoping that nothing will sneak in at the last minute and upset all their careful planning. Unfortunately for them, Earth Moves exist. In what has already been a stellar year for heavy music, both homegrown and international, the Brighton/London dwelling quartet have made a late-game play with ‘Human Intricacy’, an emotional, cathartic, powerful record that perfectly dances the line between post-metal’s sonic bulk and post-hardcore’s expressive vulnerability.

Opening track ‘Falling Away From The Ground’ hits you almost immediately with a wall of sludgy guitar and slow, deliberate drumming. It’s the kind of relentless, pulsing heaviness you’d associate with Amenra or Isis, but then Jordan Hills’ impassioned vocals come in and they’re far less clinical than you’d usually find in those kinds of bands. Instead the vocals are imperfect and feel more genuine for it; it feels like he’s always on the brink of a breakdown, always carrying an air of fragility even when he spills over from his fractured cleans into anguished screaming or guttural roars. Comparables could be drawn to La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer or Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm, but only in the earnestness of the performance as Jordan Hill’s range far outshines both. The best showcase of this is ‘Catharsis’, a seven-and-a-half minute behemoth of a track that covers everything from detached, almost spoken-word sections to monstrous bellowing and everything in between, all soundtracked by the sophisticated, textured musicianship being peddled by Hills’ bandmates.

Musically the album is, as the title might suggest, intricate. We’re not talking all-out technicality here but it’s obvious that a substantial amount of care and attention has been put into making sure every moment of this album is as good as it possibly can be. Whether it’s the frenetic drumming, which is teeming with little fills and flourishes that you might not catch on the first listen, or the loud/quiet dynamics that make you feel like you’ve been calmly intimidated into a corner before having the full fury of Earth Moves unleashed on you, ‘Human Intricacy’ has been designed to be a rollercoaster. It’s also a mixed bag of influences; if you like the textured elegance of someone like Deftones, or if you like blistering black metal, you’re equally likely to find something to love about this album, and somehow it manages this without ever feeling disjointed.

Earth Moves may have left it too late to be one of the most talked about bands of 2019, but if there’s any justice then that will be set to change in 2020. With an album this good there’s no reason they can’t get a share of the hype that their contemporaries in bands like Conjurer, Ithaca, and Palm Reader have been enjoying for the last year or two. If you like interesting, challenging, emotive music then get stuck into this fantastic album and ride that wave with them.

LIAM KNOWLES

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