Two of SoCal’s most far-out jam bands collide on this two-track, 34+-minute split EP, out on Tee Pee. Earthless starts us off with “Acid Crusher,” a 15-minute acid trip that begins as a nice, slow blues—I think I even hear an organ—before things get a little funky with some congas around the five-minute mark. Unfortunately, this one’s lacking the fire and urgency of your usual Earthless jam—tis a little too mellow for my taste. I keep waiting for them to melt my face off with an ear-searing solo…and I’m still waiting. The one around 12 minutes in is pretty solid, though.
Harsh Toke starts things off on less of a mellow note, as the 19+ minute “Mount Swan” takes little time moving towards a solid Sabbathian 70’s groove. Unlike Earthless, this number isn’t entirely instrumental, though what vocals we get early on have so much reverb they sound like they were recorded underwater. This tune completely breaks down to a series of swirling effects just past the two-minute mark, before a solitary bass line takes control for a couple minutes. We then get back to the grooves, although these ones are much more mellow, on the doomier side of the things. From there, it wallows in the mire for a while, gradually building up speed to some rather rapid riffage, only to drop all the way down to a snail’s crawl just shy of the 15-minute mark. I was somewhat surprised to hear it, but Harsh Toke beat Earthless at their own game here.
RATING: Earthless 6, Harsh Toke 7.5