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A Lesson In Ethereal Groove: Earthless - Night Parade of One Hundred Demons Review

The San Diego psych rockers tell a monstrous tale of expansive musical capabilities.

Photograph by Marta Estellés Martín

Words by Luis (@heaviestofart):

At the root of psychedelic music lies an unfiltered energy characterized by a great deal of heart and soul. For Earthless, both of these elements have never burned brighter and with the arrival of new album, Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, now imminent, the trio further cement themselves as a consistent force. Night Parade releases this Friday, January 28th via Nuclear Blast Records and comes remarkably adorned by the art of bassist Mike Eginton, who puts a face to the album's inspiration, Hyakki Yagyō (“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”).

This ancient Japanese legend explains that hordes of demons, ghosts, and other creatures descend upon sleeping villages at night on a yearly basis, forcing villagers to lock themselves in. Those who witness the occurrences die instantly or are carried off by the unwelcome visitors for into the night. Quite the folk story, right? To match such a theme, Earthless take a darker route throughout the 2-track, 61-minute Night Parade. Our journey begins with an opening glisten marked by Isaiah Mitchell's gentle guitar reverb on Part 1 of the title track. Melodies swoon listeners into a trance while Mario Rubalcaba's crashes sparkle underneath. A soulful guitar solo shines towards the back end of this ambient section as we slowly transition into a gallop marked by Rubalcaba's rhythmic joy. The song then enters a more vibrant territory maintained by Egington's rumbling bass and Rubalcaba patterns. It's an infectious sensation reflective of the joy that must've ran through each musician's veins as they composed this. Mitchell soars high and belts out a variety of electrifying solos and arpeggios throughout, amplifying the intensity tenfold. Atmosphere is the name of the game for Part 2 of the title track, the likes of which is quite sinister. Rubalcaba's tribal patterns, Mitchell's wah-wah pedal, eery synth notes, wind, and Eginton's brief but hefty contributions build a slow burning feeling of suspense that eventually crescendos into one thrilling affair. Mitchell soars once again and delivers a guitar showcase of exhilarating nature. Eginton rolls through a mighty fine groove as Rubalcaba keeps the pace on the high end. This latter end of Part 2 is truly where Earthless' musicianship converges into one multifaceted being. Each members fires on their respective end and one can't help but be set aback by the passion that exudes this effort.

Death To The Red Sun follows the soothing pattern of the album's opening notes, which erupt into an exquisite listen just a couple of minutes in. As if the depth of the 2-part title track wasn't enough of a sample of the creative tendencies of Earthless, Death To The Red Sun reaffirms their talents with vigorous grit. It explodes with the beautiful spirit of blues at every section of the track's alternating tempo. The track kicks thing into high gear towards the midpoint as Mitchell's razor sharp riffing, a menacing Eginton bass performance, and Rubalcaba's high octane drumming vibrate heavily underneath. For those on the brink of sitting through it all, let it be known that Night Parade and Death To The Red Sun are comprised of varying chapters, much like a video game or movie. You can take them in all at once, or you can visit it parts. Regardless of how you engage, Night Parade offers various accessible entry points that allow you resume your excursion as you wish.

Night Parade is far from an easy listen, but it's a rewarding one for those with the patience to welcome it as it constantly unfolds with new layers from one listen to the next. It's epic in every sense of the word and finds the trio excelling at their ambitious undertaking, an undertaking that stands tall among the contemporary psych ranks. Consider it an experience worth the every ounce of praise it'll garner. The stamina required to play through this all is astounding and those keen on witnessing it live will have a chance to do so this month (tickets). Earthless have simply hit a compositional milestone with Night Parade and Eginton's artistic talents help create the perfect guide into a world unknown. Dive in and immerse yourself into the Hyakki Yagyō.

Get a brief taste of the title track below and pre-order the record HERE.

Cover Artwork by Mike Eginton


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