Music can transport you. The Bug vs. Earth’s Concrete Desert will have you tumbling on black volcanic rock through thick mist and fog or looking out over a grey brutalist cityscape while smog hangs low and chokes a year out of your life during the morning commute.
The duo consists of Earth, Dylan Carlson, the musician who coined and created “ambient metal” which strips the genre of metal down to its rack-like skeleton, then breaking the bones and exhibiting the marrow on a counter in some twisted yet beautiful avant-garde nightmare. And of course, The Bug, Kevin Martin, who has worked on various experimental heavy music projects since the 1990’s, most notably his work on The Bug but also with the contemporarily popular Death Grips.
There is no easy way to describe what The Bug vs Earth sounds like using a meagre human language. Probably the best way to do so however, would be through cognitive estrangement and the constant readjustment of metaphor after metaphor, but still, then, the reader should just experience this album themselves.
Concrete Desert is a chilling, ambient, yet heavy progression through songs like “City of Fallen Angels,” “Agoraphobia”, “Other Side of the World” and two songs “Dog” and “Pray” featuring JK Flesh, the former Napalm Death singer and brilliant musician working many projects throughout his career. In some ways, this album sounds like heavy rain, and in others, it sounds like the noise your brain might imagine you are hearing in brief moments of floating through open space just before your death.
“End times needs a soundtrack to prep for what’s above and below, and this is it,” says The Bug on Bandcamp about his work.
This album is full of brilliant and intelligent songs, but it is best listened to as a full album from front to back (on vinyl if you’ve got it). Sit and sway to the dark pulsing of depression and slow, rhythmic distorted guitar motifs that push the songs generic boundaries.