A Haunting, Psychedelic Opus
Earthless’ latest album Night Parade of One Hundred Demons is not for those craving recitable lyrics and catchy hooks. This album is more geared towards rockers seeking a psychedelic, out-of-body experience— party favors not required. The album contains 3 tracks, each one clocking in at the length of time it takes to finish an episode of Bob’s Burgers, yet still feels as if only 5 minutes have passed. Move over gimmicky meditation apps, this album is a gripping journey where one can close their eyes and truly practice being in the moment while surrounded by the sounds of rockin’ psychedelic perfection.
The public has had an overwhelmingly positive response to this 3-track saga. In an interview with drummer Mario Rubalcaba, CBS San Francisco revealed the backstory of the album stating, “Inspired by a book of Japanese ghost stories, the tale of the Night Parade, or Hyakki Yagyō, described an otherworldly procession of supernatural creatures that would descend on Japanese villages, in some versions striking dead all who witnessed them or whisking hapless villagers away to the spirit world.”
The first track “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, Pt. 1” opens with a single guitar note sporadically played, bearing resemblance to a tuning ritual. It is light, atmospheric and uplifting while sitting in a major key and backed by soft reverb. This opening segment generates cosmic visions of flying through space on a shooting star, making one truly feel Earthless. Around 7 minutes into the song, its character changes. Rubalcaba creates distance with a moving gallop pattern generated by the toms. Seemingly random cacophonous notes later enter the mix, re-entering the psychedelic feel. The track deviates with a hard rock riff bringing all of the pieces of the song together. There is a sinister ending followed by strung-out notes from guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, which ends the song with a grungy edge.
“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, Pt. 2” steps in with a similar atmospheric environment, but in a lower register. Backed by a quarter note drum kick, this track sounds like a cold wind whipping over a barren planet. The second segment of this song has a Wild West vibe. If there was a film where ‘70s Hollywood slapped a spacesuit on John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and then proceeded to shoot them into outer space, it would be a requirement to lay this track as its theme music. The song takes a few different twists and turns before returning to a recapitulation of the opening theme and a revamp of the sinister ending from Part 1. It gains volume, becoming louder and louder with a shuffle similar to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” until met with an abrupt ending. Possibly, where one of those hapless villagers was whisked away into the spirit world.
The final track, “Death To The Red Sun” incorporates a hardcore version of the instantly recognizable riff from Disney’s “Grim Grinning Ghosts” of the Haunted Mansion ride. It is chock full of intricate guitar solos fitting enough for Hells Angels to listen to as they cruise America. Galloping at a faster pace, this time there is a feel similar to Heart’s “Barracuda.” The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons really starts to catch up towards the end of this final track. Earthless pulls a sneak attack with a gradual increase in tempo over the course of 5 minutes. It doesn’t feel like much until it’s entirely too much— a wild, pillow-gripping rodeo.
The album’s attention to detail is phenomenal. The different musical elements seem random, but they are actually perfectly placed to sound both sparse yet completely full at the same time. Not a single thing needs to be added or removed from any of the 3 tracks. With over 2 decades of playing together and calling upon worldly influences such as ‘70s Japanese rock band Blues Creation and Argentinian Psychedelic band Pappo’s Blues, Night Parade of One Hundred Demons is a not-to-miss high flying adventure.
This San Diego power trio is currently on tour in the US and then headed to Europe and the UK. Their full tour schedule is available on earthlessofficial.com.