Earthless Push Three Man Psych Rock To Extremes Via ‘Night Parade of One Hundred Demons’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

On 2018’s Black Heaven the San Diego-based, instrumental psychedelic trio Earthless completely shifted gears, scaling down their flights of fury to verse/chorus/verse hard rock offerings with singing. That change in focus didn’t last long, on Night Parade of One Hundred Demons the band has gone back to their roots, unbroken, extended demonstrations of wizardry that top out around twenty minutes long.     

Isaiah Mitchell – guitars, Mike Eginton – bass, and Mario Rubalcaba – drums, regrouped in San Diego during the lockdown and found inspiration in the Japanese folklore of Hyakki Yakō. This refers to a parade of thousands of supernatural creatures known as oni and yōkai, marching through the streets of Japan at night, a scene Eginton drew an interpretation of on the dynamite album cover. The legend stated people sheltered in the home, out of sight of the demons and Earthless created a soundtrack for that night. 

“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Part 1)” begins with pretty riffs and shimmering cymbals mixed with electro effects, all mimicking sundown. The meaty strums and galloping low end announces darkness has fallen around the six minute forty-five-second mark. Buzzing feedback, big bass, and a spacey sense of wandering float for a while before demons arrive with heavy layers of Mitchell’s guitars thirteen minutes in. The powerfully exploratory opener concludes with heavy Black Sabbath-inspired sludge rock around big beats and guitar wails to close.

The band is comfortable with stretching things out and at times some editing could be employed such as during the beginning of “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Part 2)”. The howling wind effects, drum and bass very slowly build to the eleven-minute mark, and while the sounds are interesting the glacial pace drags. Once Mitchell finally fires up the ominous riffs, Rubalcaba’s drums lead the charge into an explosive overblown finale. 

The most out-and-out rocker is the closer. “Death To The Red Sun” starts with feedback and Eginton’s thunderous bass pushing to the forefront blowing out woofers in the process, while Mitchell’s wailing guitar rips from the get go. A mean groove kicks in around six minutes while crazy wah-wah on top of repetitive drums and bass bring things to the halfway point. The trio pushes it all into overdrive to wrap up the album, with Mitchell phenomenally layering solo over solo with creative sound sculpting.  

Night Parade of One Hundred Demons shows what Earthless do best while recalling early albums like Sonic Prayer and Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky. The band keeps going and going, pushing their psych-rock three-man-weave to extremes.   

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