Heavy metal will live forever. There, I said it. You can have your pop radio, balladeers, and over-produced hip hop, I will forever be the 14-year old teen dweeb sitting in the backseat of my parents 1984 Honda Accord forcing them to throw in my Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Manowar cassettes as we drive to town, the mall, or to some family gathering 40 minutes away. There’s nothing like the galloping riffs, tribal drum warfare, thumping bass lines, and banshee-like vocals screaming of galactic warfare, socio-political diatribes, or just a song based on a King or Lovecraft story. That’s the shit, my man. That’s the shit.
I took my son to his first true metal show a coupe weeks ago. Gojira, Knocked Loose, and Alien Weaponry. This wasn’t some pseudo metal show. Nah, this was the real deal. Mosh pits, crowd-surfing, and vocals that were part dad screaming at you because you broke the picture window and part being chopped up with a machete. Drums played in a manner that no human being should be able to play, and drop-B tuned guitars with a guttural menace that seemed to summon powers from beyond time and space. It was glorious and we had an amazing time.
That show got me going down the heavy music rabbit hole this past couple weeks. So when I heard that one of my favorite metal bands, So Cal’s Earthless, were returning with a new album called Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons I was already counting on some major head-banging and air guitar to occur.
And it has. Multiple times.
The last studio album from the three-piece psych rock band known as the mighty Earthless was 2018s Black Heaven. There have also been two incredible live albums, From The West and Live In The Mojave Desert. Both of those live albums are testaments to the power of the mighty Isaiah Mitchell on guitar, Mike Eginton on bass, and Mario Rubalcaba on the drums. These three are like a nuclear-powered Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Blue Cheer all rolled into one mighty San Diego powerhouse. As far as modern guitar gods go, Mitchell is one. His flawless, virtuosic leads combined with his incredible rhythm playing puts him up there with the absolute best. And the rhythm section of Eginton and Rubalcaba is a force to be reckoned with. Keeping the foundation grounded like a barge full of anvils, they keep Mitchell from ascending into outer space never to be seen again.
There’s a preview track you can hear now, the epic metal swagger of “Death To The Red Sun”. It’s an all-out riff party that sports a kind of classic NWOBHM feel. Think Iron Maiden getting down with The Jeff Beck Group AND Cream with a just a pinch of Robin Trower. That’s what’s going down here, and it’s a literal album side length at 20 minutes. It’s kind of blowing my mind.
When I’d heard that Isaiah Mitchell was in the Black Crowes I was a little worried a high profile gig like that might take time away from Earthless. That worry was for naught, as by the sound of “Death To The Red Sun” nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I feel this is a classic Earthless mind-melter. Sonic Prayer, Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky, and From The Ages mind-melting jams going on here. I could not be more thrilled.
Check out the new track below. ‘Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons’ drops Jan 28 via Nuclear Blast, so mark that 2022 calendar.