I am always inherently curious upon exploring a band for the first time. The brief little introduction I get never quite suffices. A friend may introduce them as ‘Like The Killers, only a lot cooler.’ I’m not exactly sure what I am supposed to do with that.
I was taken aback by the introduction to ‘Negative Earth,’ which remains, to this day, the only words about the group on their proclaimed biography. They are as follows: Negative Earth is an electronic gravity rock project. An alternative industrial feel that delivers intense lyrics and aggressive riffs that stem from a negative to positive transformation. This is the undying symphony from inside of the unnerving infinity. That somber little sphere spinning in all of us. If they wanted to be vague, intriguing, and somewhat disconcerting, they accomplished the goal in spades (is ‘they’ even the right term?).
So there I went, diving into the brief list of tracks available on the group’s website for your streaming pleasure. There were a few sounds that immediately came to surface. Channel 666 seems culled right from the same fabric as Rob Zombie on hillbilly Deluxe. ‘Ear Seed’ seems to find a more electronic environment that recalls latter-day Korn albums, and ‘Eye For dumb’ is a more aggressive turn, allowing a raspy and riff-heavy beat to recall the best moments of Marilyn Manson from ‘Mechanical Animals.’ If none of these mentions peaks your interest or is familiar to you than, quite frankly, Negative Earth probably ISN’T for you. There is also a bit of that rap-metal vibe that groups like Limp Bizkit and Powerman 5000 have done so naturally in the late 90’s. It is almost like a throwback sound, a recollection of times where the riff spoke for itself, where the rapping wasn’t so overpriced and the electronic elements weren’t so forced. In 2013, there are very few bands that do this type of thing with so much endowed nostalgia.
The group’s latest release is ‘Antithesis,’ an appropriate title, for it seems like the sonic antithesis of anything you hear blasting from the radio in traffic or being recommended on Spotify for the umpteenth time despite how often you listen to Nine Inch Nails and have no interest in the latest Chris Brown album.
Negative Earth does a whole lot right, and do it with honesty, never seeming to disqualify any of their signature style for a quick buck. Esther Widmann has recently joined the group. This female singer harnesses a sensationally powerful voice, where almost any reviewer will compare her to Amy Lee of Evanescence or Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil. These are both fair but not, as her voice has enough originality to stand apart, yet holds its own against even both those women’s best performances. The group’s cover of Sober by Tool is really quaint and melodic, featuring Widmann as co-vocalist.
It will be interesting to see how the group manages the new female songstress in their musical outputs, but for now, Negative Earth manages nostalgic-infused sounds of rock, metal, and electronica, with fascinating results.