Saturday, 6 December 2014

Choices Cuts: Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (2008)

Years Active: 1989–1997, 2003–present
Records to Date: 14
Genre: Drone, experimental rock,
         post-rock, minimalist
Label: Sub Pop, No Quarter, Or,
Southern Lord, Blast First/Mute

The Band:

  • Dylan Carlson – electric guitars, amplifier
  • Steve Moore – acoustic grand piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano
  • Don McGreevy – bass guitar, double bass
  • Adrienne Davies – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
  • Bill Frisell – electric guitar on tracks 1, 4, and 5
  • Milky Burgess - slide guitar on "Junkyard Priest


There are some records you forget about, there are some records that make the Top 20 list of the year. There are some records that are inextricably linked to a time and a place. Then there’s a few small bundle of records that transport you to your own personal universe. Earth makes such records as a matter of course, and ‘Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’ is at the very pinnacle of that, the transcendent space Dylan Carlson and his cohorts occupy. Like most of the records featured in Choice Cuts, this is best experienced in the vinyl format; delicately pulling out the record from its leather bound case and reverently placing it on the turntable is a tactile experience to be savoured. But even if you’re just mundanely hitting play on your iPod, the end result is the same: complete bliss.

The reason for this serenity is simple – Earth can do more with one note than most bands do with a million. At a tempo of a sunlit siesta they languidly yawn and stretch a chord progression as heavy as long-forgiven sins, and it’s utterly gripping. ‘Omens And Portents I: The Driver’ is like spotting a coiled snake in the desert. You’re not sure if it’s sleeping or if it’s waiting to strike, but you’re immediately struck by the beauty and the power of control as the snare gently rattles and guitars plugged into dusty valve amps. There’s no rush to impose themselves here; like a mountain, there are there dominating the senses. Elsewhere, heavy piano chords give the feeling this is a somewhat more classically inclined work, and rightly so. For all the talk about being pioneers of drone, there is really nothing like Earth. No one else who can see the way to combine psychedelia and gospel organ music together with slow cyclical chords into one coherent vision that is ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’.

Words by: Steve R. Jones

You can pick up the record everywhere now

Album Details:

‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull’ is the fifth full-length studio album by the band Earth, released in 2008 via Southern Lord Records.  The album was produced with Randall Dunn, recorded and mixed at Avast/Aleph Studios.  The artwork is by Arik Roper, who as previously worked with Sleep and High On Fire, to name but a few. The title of the record  is a reference to Judges 14:8 in the Bible. It tells the story of Samson, who tore apart a lion and when he returned, noticed a swarm of bees and some honey on the lion's carcass.

'The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’ track listing:

1). Omens And Portents 1: The Driver (09:06)
2). Rise To Glory (05:47)
3). Miami Morning Coming Down II (Shine) (08:01)
4). Engine Of Ruin (06:28)
5). Omens And Portents II: Carrion Crow (08:04)
6). Hung From The Moon (07:44)
7). The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull (08:15)
8). Junkyard Priest (Bonus Vinyl Track)(07:13)

2XLP pressing is 4980 total. (3k black, 1k clear (for European Distribution only), 980 Gold (mailorder).

For more information: