Earthless, Here Lies Man, Crypt Trip
Isaiah Mitchell, Mario Rubalcaba, and Mike Eginton create astral improv – metal grade, jam-elongated, and jazz modulated. Witnessing the California trio lock into 10-minute time warps proves thrilling to the point of near incomprehension at the sheer feat. Fourth studio LP Black Heaven adds spot vocals without losing velocity.
“The big deal about the whole thing is that we’re not known for doing it,” acknowledges singer-shredder Mitchell. “For me, personally, singing isn’t this radical new thing. It’s just another instrument to add.”
Speaking from Marin County where the picking’s good – specifically mushrooms and American Indian arrowheads – he shrugs off the assertion that no guitarist in any genre solos as continuously as he does onstage in heated engagement with drum monster Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt).
“I mean we have parts,” says Mitchell. “We’re not nonstop. I think it’s just out of necessity and trying to make things interesting on the fly. If Mike’s holding down the chord changes, I do go in there and riff and solo, then get back to changes and more guitar solos. I guess I don’t think much about it, but I never did anything quite like that before Earthless.
“But it takes a lot of work to get a 15- or 20-minute instrumental to flow and hopefully not be monotonous or lose the listener.”
New album opener “Gifted by the Wind,” part Hendrix, part James Gang, is vocally Southern and even under seven minutes.
“I’m personally a big ZZ Top fan,” reveals Mitchell. “I love Joe Walsh. But yeah, I mean, we’re all ZZ Top guys and I think it sinks in there on that song.”– Raoul Hernandez