[sic] Magazine

Carlton Melton – Turn To Earth

The phrasing is important. This is no return to Earth for Northern California, instrumental psych shamans Carlton Melton. This is a final turn to look back at Earth, a shimmering blue speck set against the enormity of the milky way, never to be seen again. It’s a full 120-minute odyssey too that displays the full range of Carlton Melton material, a show of strength to the known solar system before heading out into uncharted territory.

Turn To Earth is the second Carlton Melton album of 2023 and Andy Duvall, Clint Golden, and Rich Millman’s second with Anthony Taibi of kindred spirits White Manna, his guitar work helping the former trio get heavier than they have been for a number of years, his pronounced synth contributions adding transcendental textures to their trademark kosmische and drones.

With such a generous run-time, these pulsing drones come ponderously, distant percussion slowly filling in the wide-open space and contorting into solemn thuds, microdetails imperceptibly increasing tempo and tension until suddenly you’re caught up in a rhythmic arsenal of threatening drumming, serrated solos and cosmic radiation that together sounds truly colossal. Rinse and repeat.

“Cloudstorming” and “Vanquished” duly bring the noise with hard-rocking, juggernaut chug and charged guitar parts that fork through the black cumulonimbi as lightening, the pair ending in battle sequence space-rock, longhair guitar whipping and forth over the ear-filling maelstrom. The yang to all this punishing yin, “Migration” offers serene synth-play and the same buzzed-out piano bliss that we first encountered on Where This Leads, while “Cosmicity” and “Unlock The Land” simmer in celestial hum, synth now cooing like New Age angels, the peace shattered in each by the arrival of jackboot bass and doomed drums that batter at the door of the holodeck, wailing guitar grinding at the hinges.

Precisely what lurks on the other side of the door in the outer realms we’re certain to find out next time. Strap yourself in and take one last look at planet Earth; it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Best track: “Cloudstorming”

~Turn To Earth is released October 6th 2023 via Agitated Records.~