A bewitching psychedelic opus
Earthless’ latest album Hundred Demons Night Parade is not for those who crave recitable lyrics and catchy hooks. This album is more for rockers looking for a psychedelic, out-of-body experience – party favors aren’t necessary. The album contains 3 tracks, each showing the time it takes to complete an episode of Bob’s Burgers, but I still feel like only 5 minutes have passed. Move over fancy meditation apps, this album is an engrossing journey where you can close your eyes and really practice being in the moment while surrounded by the sounds of psychedelic perfection.
The public had an extremely positive response to this saga in 3 titles. In an interview with drummer Mario Rubalcaba, CBS San Francisco revealed the album’s backstory, stating, “Inspired by a Japanese ghost story book, the tale of the Night Parade, or Hyakki Yagyōdescribes an otherworldly procession of supernatural creatures that are said to descend on Japanese villages, in some versions killing all who witness them or taking hapless villagers to the spirit world.
The first track “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, Pt. 1” opens with a single guitar note played sporadically, resembling a tuning ritual. It’s light, atmospheric and uplifting while sitting in a major key and backed by smooth reverb. This opening segment generates cosmic visions of flying through space on a shooting star, which truly feels like being landless. About 7 minutes into the song, its character changes. Rubalcaba creates distance with a moving gallop pattern generated by the toms. Seemingly random cacophonous notes enter the mix later, reinstating the psychedelic feel. The track deviates with a hard rock riff bringing together all the tracks of the song. There’s a grim ending followed by strung notes from guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, who ends the song with a grungy twist.
“Night Parade of the Hundred Demons, Pt. 2” comes with a similar atmospheric setting, but in a lower register. Backed by a quarter-note drum kick, this track sounds like a cold wind whipping through a barren planet. second segment of this song has a wild west vibe to it If there was a movie where 70s Hollywood slapped a space suit on John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and then shot them in space it would be necessary to define this track as its theme music. The song takes a few different twists and turns before returning to a recap of the opening theme and a revamp of the grim ending of Part 1. It gains volume, getting louder and louder with a mix similar to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” until it’s met with an abrupt ending, possibly where one of those unfortunate villagers was taken to the spirit world.
The final track, “Death To The Red Sun,” incorporates a hardcore version of Disney’s instantly recognizable “Grim Grinning Ghosts” riff from the Haunted Mansion ride. It’s packed with intricate guitar solos suitable enough for the Hells Angels to listen to while cruising America. Galloping at a faster pace, this time there is a feeling similar to Heart’s “Barracuda”. the Hundred Demons Night Parade really starts to catch up towards the end of this final track. Earthless fires a sneak attack with a gradual increase in tempo over the course of 5 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much until it’s completely too much – wild and gripping rodeo.
The attention to detail on the album is phenomenal. The various musical elements seem random, but they’re actually perfectly placed to sound both sparse and completely full at the same time. Not a single thing should be added or removed from any of the 3 tracks. With over 2 decades playing together and drawing on global influences such as 70s Japanese rock band Blues Creation and Argentinian psychedelic band Pappo’s Blues, Hundred Demons Night Parade is a high-flying adventure not to be missed.
This power trio from San Diego is currently on tour in the United States, then in Europe and the United Kingdom. Their full tour schedule is available at earthlessofficial.com.