‘Depths’ received an 8/10 in the latest issue of Decibel.
No, this is not a reissue of the horrible album by Oceano released five years ago. So, things are already off to a good start. Nor is this a release from an alternative commune in which men are flogged into subservience. It’s atmospheric black metal from South Dakota, an ambient trip through lush soundscapes and dense note clusters.
Satan and Valhalla don’t have much currency in black metal these days. Rachel Carson, however, does. Bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Altar of Plagues make you feel a longing for the things man once viewed as magical: the Earth and skies and even the ancient gods. Woman Is the Earth offer another long-form elegy. The winding, involved songs aren’t an impediment; you aren’t there for a moment, but for the journey.
Many of the better black metal bands of the past decade-plus are those that look to their desolate surroundings to shape their sound. With Wolves, it was the rural forests of Oregon, which aren’t desolate, but offer isolation. AOP document a world in peril (“Neptune Is Dead” on Mammal). Woman Is the Earth offer a requiem and a celebration for their native South Dakota. The band takes time to notice what’s going on: the space, the hidden wonder, the truth inherent in the natural world. They translate that for the listener, particularly in the opening to “Child of Sky,” which is part chant and part prayer and all-encompassing and glorious. But there’s not any outrage; rather, there is a sense that this band wants to document something before it’s gone forever. – Justin M. Norton