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Pillars I slithered under my radar upon it's first release, and it was a glorious thing to miss. Their lush, atmospheric black metal bubbled like brooks and whistled through the leafy branches of a dense, warm forest. It was dense, long-winded, and synthesizer heavy, moving with tremendous footsteps and a wide breadth. Yes, Earth and Pillars was green, and a very earthy one at that. Two years later, this Italian unit returns with Earth II, and I was shocked at the sheer temperature difference, but even moreso at how successfully they retained their identity while doing so. Where Earth I felt like a living, growing thing, Pillars I is much more structured, as if it was man-made. Though still mammoth and heavy in atmosphere, these four new tracks are aggressive and menacing, but most of all they appear grey and border on complete barrenness. Lifelessness and grey emptiness are new territory for Earth and Pillars, and yet they more than manage, and with a newfound sense of momentum. The lengthy ambient passages from it's predecessor still make grand appearances, but the humid feeling is replaced with dreadful desolation, and their once ecstatic, flowery black metal normalizes and condenses. In a metaphoric sense, Earth and Pillars clear cut the verdant forest they grew in Earth I and built large, looming, lifeless monoliths in Pillars I. In the end, it's still the same band, but rearranged and reinvented, which makes this grey a more unique parallel to Earth and Pillar's originally connoted green.