It’s been five years since USBM trio Woman is the Earth released fourth album Torch of Our Final Night and four years since their last EP, Thaw. The wait ends today, though, with an exclusive stream of Dust of Forever, Woman is the Earth’s fifth-full length (out August 20 on Init Records) and greatest accomplishment to date.
Dust of Forever is most easily classified as a post-black metal record, but Woman is the Earth don’t entangle themselves in generic genre tropes and ideas. The guitars throughout the album are dense and layered, but there is a melodic current that runs throughout; at its most electrifying, like on “Breath of a Dying Star,” it is a galloping, triumphant intensity. At their darkest, Woman is the Earth are a torrent of blast beats and scalding vocals that smother the listener.
Woman is the Earth find their inspiration in nature, spirituality and inner struggles, themes that are very clear in the music. Dust of Forever is not a black metal record that could be described as cold, but rather earthy and lonely. If Battles in the North and Nemesis Divina are odes to cold Norwegian winters, Dust of Forever is more akin to being caught in a raging thunderstorm—and witnessing the rainbow that forms after.
Album closer “Face of Snakes” builds toward a thunderous crescendo, one that hammers the listener with screams, blast beats and cacophonous guitars before fading peacefully to quiet. Dust of Forever is a powerful record that takes the listener through emotional and musical highs and lows without sacrificing originality.