Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
“Children Of The Future… Lift Your Weary Heads!” June 2002 saw the unveiling of one of the heaviest exports to ever surface from the underbelly of the legendary Maryland Doom scene.
The début full-length album from that state’s grittiest of heavyweights, Earthride, titled ‘Taming Of The Demons‘, landed on listeners with the impact of a leaden locomotive. The quartet at the heart of this heavy-laden studio statement consisted, at the time, of underground music icon Dave Sherman (Wretched, Spirit Caravan, Weed Is Weed), Eric Little, Kyle Vansteinburg, and Joe Ruthvin.
What this fatalistic foursome laid down and captured on this début album was, when once heard, life-changing. Constructed upon some of the thickest, massive riffs and grooves known to man, the songs rippled with morose excess. That moroseness was offset with bluesy, but rutted rhythms deep enough to break a leg upon falling into. Sledgehammer-like drums along with Sherman’s gravelly vocals and soulful wailing completed the formula.
That début album did seriously change music for me, personally. I had been heavily into death metal in the Nineties and although my tastes had changed, rock music just wasn’t built like that. At least not until I heard ‘Taming Of The Demons‘, as it contained an equal density to death metal but oozed life and feeling.
It was like the music of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath filtered through an opiate-instigated haze. I wore that album out, listening to it on repeat for days and eventually weeks at a time.
It would be followed by two more studio full-lengths, 2005’s ‘Vampire Circus’ and 2010’s ‘Something Wicked’, before the ‘Ride would come to an end… or so we were told. But alas, remember the old adage about “never saying never”? Well, it’s applicable to this story because, from my own firsthand experience, I would ask Sherm every time I saw him: “Will Earthride ever return?” and the answer I got was not a hope-inspiring one, to say the least. But there is a reason for that old saying, ya know?
Slow forward to 2017… when, unexpectedly like a bolt out of the wide blue yonder, came news that Earthride were back! Back with a new lineup that saw Dave Sherman and Eric Little now joined by Greg Ball and Edmund Brown, but it didn’t end there.
In fact, that was just the beginning for the newly re-born terra travelers as Earthride had signed to Salt Of The Earth Records and would release new music. Not only would they release new music, but they would also PLAY said music, new and old, live as well.
I fulfilled a long-running bucket list scratch-off by seeing this latest incarnation of the band play (for my first time ever) at the Maryland Doom Fest III back in June. Yet once is far from enough in the case of Earthride, and I am inching closer to doubling down and seeing them for a second time this year. That blessed (or accursed?) occurrence will happen at the upcoming Descendants Of Crom Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 30th.
It took me over a decade and a half to see these mighty minstrels of audio lamentation, so why stop there? Earthride recently announced they will take part in a touring trek with the potential for harm if there ever was one. They will be joining Buzzov*en for twelve dates from mid-October through November and I plan to go for an Earthride Triple Crown by catching a date on that trek as well.
By the time Descendants Of Crom goes down on Saturday, Sept. 30th, Earthride will have issued their new 7″ “Witch Gun“. It’s a holdover release while the band works on their Salt Of The Earth Records début. I’ve heard the live version of it and it is a solid ass-kicker track, one that is undoubtedly worthy of the Earthride legacy.
It hearkens back to the band’s ‘Taming Of The Demons‘ début, possessing the same elements and sound of that landmark release. At the same time, it is riveted with modern, contemporary aspects that reinforce the revelation that the band is back.
Back indeed and make no mistake, 2017 is indeed The Year Of EARTHRIDE! Get with it or get the fuck outta the way!
For all the latest Earthride info, events, and more, visit their Facebook page. Up to the minute info and things happening at Salt Of The Earth Records, visit the SOTE website. For details and ticket information for the Descendants Of Crom Festival visit the DoC website.