It’s a day for longtime favorites around here and this one comes from Justin Wright’s altar of ash Expo ’70. Though that’s not right, here on Evolution, as the album is rightly titled, the band has transformed into Expo Seventy, an extension of the smoking crater crush that his previous incarnation specialized in when Wright was solo. On Evolution the band is in power trio mode and wielding that might with the force of a dying star. The opener powers into view with a six-ton turbulence, squeezing the listener through the eye of the storm and out into the weightless wonders of the other side of the Nebula.
From there the band balances space rock thrum, drone vibrations, doom tremors, and cosmic sludge into a record that’s massive in scope. Clocking in just under an hour, the album thrusts the listener into storm and stasis, peril and purgatory over and over again. The second cut lets Sam Hughes’ sax take the wheel wile the listener floats suspended in the stratosphere, numb from the opener’s pummel, but there’s no time to get comfortable before the dread returns. The relative piece gives way to towering doom riffs, mountainous and hungry. “Echoes of Ether” may sound like an ambient dream in title, but in actuality it comes on like the funeral procession for elder gods. The album is rooted in Expo ‘70s impulses, but on Evolution, Wright has created something bigger than his past albums hinted at. The new species is something to behold.
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