Saying music is personal sounds like the most obvious thing ever, but there are some artists and creations that glimmer with that idea more than others. Hearing a record that feels like it takes you right into the guts of its creator is not something you encounter every day, but when you do, prepare to be knocked backward because you’re walking rarified terrain.
South Dakota black metal band Woman Is the Earth is one of those artists for me, as each time they release new music, I feel like they reveal added layers of their raging spirits. “Dust of Forever,” their new and fifth record, is another great beast unleashed upon the world, this one a little different than the creatures that preceded it. Here, the band—vocalist/guitarist Jarrod Hattervig, guitarist/bass effects Andy Martin, drummer/backing vocalist Jon Martin—delve deeper into post-black metal storms, letting the ground get saturated, the clouds thicken, and the majesty of nature have its way and ravage your mind. It’s such an immersive experience, a force that is impossible to fight against, so you might as well follow the path it is blazing before you.
“Emerald Ash” opens as a total eruption, feeling like a volcanic spurt from your heart as wild howls hammer you, and incredible energy collects as the guitars gain steam. Synth floods as you notice your pulse in your wrist, while excitement spirals amid harsh shrieks, spiraling riffs, and a final burst that leaves you gasping for air. “Crystal Tomb” wrenches with anguished cries and the drums punching holes in brick walls, with the guitars lathering and helping you bask in serotonin. Great melodies rage like a river, the guitars swell, and the shrieks hammer your skull as everything mounts a final assault, firing out into the night. “Through a Beating Heart” ruptures, feeling like signals being sent from a raw heart as gruff vocals crash right into cascading guitars. Things turn darker and sinister, powering up as the energy slays, the power turns into cold waters, and psychedelic shimmering rises, melting right into the mouth of “Breath of a Dying Star” that just rips right off the bat. Emotional leads rule the way, and beastly carnage flexes its muscles, with the melodies lathering yet continually tearing things apart. The playing rumbles in your guts, the sinew is torn apart, and everything settles into a sound field with ash raining down on your face.
“Spiritual Rot” unleashes guitars that are frying and a pulsating pace that is exhilarating and pure. The growls rush as the track takes on more steam, and then a halt lets you catch your breath before the melodies crush all over again, the power catapults, and the beams make their way into the clouds. “The Rope Gets Tighter” brings stinging guitars and guttural growls that slice into your belly, pulling out your insides. At times, things are disorienting, while at others, there is a moody energy that glazes and intoxicates. The center of the song explodes as shrieks slaughter, raining down blood and bone while jolting shouts leave bruising, and things fire up all over, jamming in the dagger at the end. “Departure” is an instrumental piece with cold, sorrowful melodies creating a fog, pushing into closer “Face of Snakes” that develops like a tornado chewing the ground. The shrieks strike as a stirring assault gets heavier and meaner, eating away at your senses, feeling like it’s burning in your chest. Gut-busting wails hammer home the message, the playing amps up the energy, and the track is sucked out into the cosmos, lurking forever in the dark.
Woman Is the Earth put so much of themselves, such a generous portion of their spirits into their music, that you can’t help but feel galactically aligned with them somehow after their music comes to an end. “Dust of Forever” continues their amazing run of records that are as much mental experiences as they are collections of charging music, though this one has some twists and turns that their other albums do not. This is both ferocious and sensitive, fiery and vulnerable, an album that feels like a living, breathing being taking up residence in your chest.
For more on the band, go here: https://facebook.com/womanistheearthband/
To buy the album, go here: https://initrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dust-of-forever
For more on the label, go here: https://initrecords.bandcamp.com/