Advertisement

Album Review: Skin of Earth — ‘Burn Barrel’

  • 222
    Shares

With only four tracks, clocking in at 26:44, it’s likely that Skin of Earth’s Burn Barrel — released at the tail end of 2018 as an omen, a prediction, a benediction for the year to come — should rightly be called an EP. But damn, it doesn’t feel like one. It feels like it punches through a spot right beneath your ribcage, reaches back all the way to your spine and drags you forward, unrelenting, through a fog. And while you’re with it, there’s no start or finish, no deception of duration: only now.

This is what the best doom metal can do, and why I love it: It traps you in a six- or seven-minute track that’s more puzzle box than “song,” and doesn’t let you escape from fully experiencing even a second of it. Skin of Earth is doom metal at its best. But it’s also, somehow, more. About halfway through track three, “Lou Rawls,” for example, there’s a tone shift, a melodic lift that pulls you out of your complacency and demands a different sort of attention.

Like many albums released by Sump Pump, who regularly put out some of my favorites each year, Burn Barrel is a record that you don’t want to end. And it ends, as many of them do, abruptly, leaving you reeling, still in that fog.

But the final track in this case, “Jenny,” also ends with a few spoken lines from a 1972 Leonard Cohen poem, “Any system you contrive without us will be brought down.” It is engaging and conspiratorial, and it serves as a call to action. It’s an ending that doesn’t end, but propels us forward instead, into the world, to access and engage it.

If you need a reason to keep going when the world is full of chaos and feels desperate, Burn Barrel is it. We’re all in this together, and this is our soundtrack, respite and reinvigoration in one.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 263.


  • 222
    Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

40 Years Forward:

A Celebration of Empowerment & Hope

Deb Talan of "The Weepies" will begin our night of celebration with a story of survival, empowerment, and hope told through words and song. Join us in remembering our past and envisioning the future at the Coralville Mariott.

GET TICKETS

Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.

Advertisement

A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene

STRENGTHEN
GROW•EVOLVE

Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

Little Village's
BEST OF THE CRANDIC

From Aug. 1-Sept. 30, cast your vote for your favorite places, people, eats and entertainment around the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.

Don't forget to explain your picks! The best answers will be published in LV's Best of the CRANDIC issue, out Dec. 3, 2019.