Earthless – From the West


San Diego trio Earthless is no stranger to live recordings and From the West (Silver Current/Nuclear Blast), recorded just before the launch of last studio album Black Heaven (Nuclear Blast), seems to laud that album’s release and the band’s new deal with the larger label.

The set covers new tunes and older favourites in a seriously dynamic fashion and with staggering clarity. Opener ‘Black Heaven’, the title track from that 2018 album, incorporates the band’s love of Psychedelia with familiar rollicking pace and crunching rhythms. As always with live shows, the bass is much more to the fore and Mike Eginton’s subterranean rumblings battle magnificently with electrifying leadwork and fluid, pounding drums in a sparkling meld of emotive Desert Rock and blistering Heavy Metal.

‘Electric Flame’ follows, delivered in similar style, drummer Mario Rubalcaba dictating its often syncopated pattern and Isaiah Mitchell’s vocal displaying the Americana roots amid his fulminating guitar.

‘Gifted by the Wind’, meanwhile, is given added beef and bluster in the live setting, the slightly languid pace no less stirring thanks to a pummeling rhythm section and howling leads.

Marauding Desert classic ‘Uluru Rock’ is allowed a near twenty-minute runout here, a mellow beginning bewitching the senses with its chiming guitar before more screeching, plaintive solos fly through the sky. Frenetic yet precise drumming drives the track from its centrepoint, the pace eventually gathering to breakneck speed with all three members remarkably maintaining synchronicity. The album proper closes with the brief but motoring ‘Volt Rush’ and a ferocious, faithful cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown’; Mitchell understandably not able to recreate Robert Plant’s histrionics but placing his own stamp on a legendary song with leadwork that Jimmy Page would admire.

The CD bonus track is ‘Acid Crusher’, a true trip through psychedelic swirls with pedals aplenty giving an oscillating vibe and that grumbling, portentous bass high in the mix. As ever the standout element is Mitchell’s wondrous command of his instrument yet the whole set serves as a mind-bending reminder of Earthless’ colossal live power and is the perfect invite for the uninitiated to attend their next tour.

7.5/10.0

PAUL QUINN