Can you feel it? That massive, mind-blotting buzz from the planet's core? That's Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version. Sub Pop released this record by Seattle duo Earth in early 1993. Its truculent tremors still ripple through the heavy-music underground. Nobody's made a big deal about 2013 being the landmark album's 20th anniversary. We need to redress this oversight. Admittedly, Earth 2 is no Nevermind in terms of sales (understatement, ahoy!), but its impact on subterranean metal may be just as historical as Nirvana's breakout LP has been in mainstream circles.

On Earth 2, guitarist Dylan Carlson—with help from bassist Dave Harwell—invented ambient metal, a devouring swarm of down-tuned guitar and bass dirges that coalesced into a threnody for forward motion... and possibly the human race. Never has sonic stasis been so domineering and exhaustive. It is Metal Machine Music as interpreted by a La Monte Young acolyte. Its infernal growl makes the Stooges' "We Will Fall" seem like sheerest New Age and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" sound like bubblegum pop. Perhaps only Melvins' Lysol rivals it for sheer mass. Unlike most metal, Earth 2 insinuates doom. It needs no lyrics to convey the dread aura at its molten center. Earth 2 pulverized metal's cartoonishness and took the genre to the ashram.

To commemorate this vastly influential recording, The Stranger interviewed some of the key figures in the making of Earth 2, as well as a musician inspired by it. (Sub Pop boss Jonathan Poneman was unavailable for comment. Harwell did not respond to an interview request.)

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