MRLP 26 Ærkenbrand - Earthen Head LP
Earthen Head is the first full-length vinyl release by the Danish duo Ærkenbrand, following a string of releases on Mastermind Records and Mythomania Collection that began in 2014 with the sprawling single-track EP Barabtalos Dream and continued with three different cassette tapes the following year. Where each of these previous releases seemed to act as contained windows into select aspects of the eclectic and diverse musical landscapes traversed by the Jutlandian two-piece, this record finds them taking advantage of the longer format to present the broader scope of their vision within a single album, while simultaneously allowing it to occupy its own distinct niche as being perhaps their darkest work to date. The result is a record possessed of an particular eccentricity, balancing bleak, naturalistic grit with an uncanny splendour. Complex, skittering orchestration gives way to more minimalist, primal rock music before veering into the ambient and folk-inspired passages that have defined previous releases. The broad range of instrumentation on the album's eight tracks belie the meticulousness of the music, although it remains solidly tethered to the core elements of Antonius Lovmand's voice and Sebastian Idun Mørch's omnipresent acoustic guitar.