PICK OF THE WEEK: Soothsayer lay waste to planet foes, open hell on massive ‘Echoes of the Earth’

Frustration and anger always have been intertwined with heavy metal because so much of the music contains these elements, and just as much can be used to release frustrations baked into your psyche. It’s one of those ways that helps you realize you’re not alone in feeling like your patience is boiling into a pile of filth, and being able to ID with those elements in the music can feel cathartic.

One trip through “Echoes of the Earth,” the debut long player from Irish crushers Soothsayer, feels like a pit of despair and aggravation front to back, but their music has a focus for that anger, and it’s something in which many of us can relate. Basically, we’ve been told for quite some time now about the destructive toll we are having on the Earth, and so many people (many of them in positions of power) refuse to acknowledge this and even ridicule others who care about the well-being of the place we live. Just typing that is enough to make my blood boil, but the band—vocalist/soundscape artist Líam Hughes, guitarists Con Doyle and Marc O’Grady, bassist Pavol Rosa, drummer Sean Breen—translate those feelings into music that feels like it’s trying to combine with the planet itself to forcibly remove its would-be destroyers. This is staggeringly heavy and powerful, a record that feels like it’s aiming to leave you devastated from the inside out.  

“Fringe” starts the record as a sort of extended instrumental intro, setting the stage for what comes after. Loud wails and strange chants warm up as sung lines slur, and this detached dream heads toward “Outer Fringe” that drips into the picture before mauling you like a bear. Growls and shouts hammer as the pace kicks up, collecting mud as thunderous fury is released. The low end just snarls while the playing stomps heavily, the intensity multiplies, and chants return, making your head swim in the cosmos. “War of the Doves” starts cleanly before shouts wrestle you down, and the bass gets thick and unloads. A synth scape rises and mesmerizes, adding some chill to the fury, while the playing hammers and loosens teeth, and vicious hell boils over before finally being sucked back to sea.

“Cities of Smoke” has guitars trickling into the scene before the growls begin to lurch, and a cold atmosphere makes you shiver in your shoes. The growls crush as the playing picks up, some clean playing adds a different tributary, and forceful yells add to a rather volatile finish. “Six of Nothing” immerses itself in psychedelic colors and a crunchy, catchy pace, with gruff growls making their force known as the track gets heavier. Blows are landed as the rage explodes, guitars burn heavily, and the pace continues to add pressure even as cleaner vocals bring colder winds. Melodies flood as the shrieks jab back, disappearing into a pocket of echo as the track bows out. “True North” ends the album, a 12:09 killer that starts with guitars coming to life and the growls punishing, even as humidity thickens. The track comes unglued as the band splatters you, and noise becomes a bigger factor, adding to the immense heat that’s suddenly becoming a factor. The track hazes, voices murmur, and a weird transmission picks up and lurches toward chilling ambiance, finally ending as it sinks into the cosmos.

It’s sad so many metal bands have had to remind us that nature is going to come back and exact revenge on us all for how we have treated our home, something Soothsayer splatter all over “Echoes of the Earth,” their massive debut full-length display. The fury, panic, and disgust are all over this thing, continually here to remind you that we are to blame for this fiery tomb, and it might be too late to act at all. This is all too real, too current, and too terrifying to handle, and the fact that deniers live among us adds an even thicker level of anger and resentment that you can practically taste.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/soothsayerdoom

To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en_1

For more on the label, go here: https://tometal.com/