Detail: Earth's 'The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull' 

The fifth release from Olympia Washington's Earth, the album title points to a biblical phrase, tongue in cheek or not. Earth's Dylan Carlson, a close friend of Kurt Cobain's, sort of fell off the face of the earth following the Nirvana frontman's tragic death in 1994, before returning in the early 2000s. But unlike the band's formative years, Bees calls to mind country elements, while maintaining the slow drone of Earth's early output. For example, as Pitchfork's Zach Baron put it, with a song like "Miami Morning Coming Down," Earth "nods at Johnny Cash, spaghetti twang, gospel hymns," and the entire album "turns his band's fearsome reputation inside outside, offering up metal's ubiquitous skull as the birthplace of something sweet."

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