It wasn’t as if I needed much of a reason to enjoy Earth’s Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II as I’m a huge fan of chapter 1. There is, though, that initial apprehension to the specter of follow-up, the possibility that the ball could drop and leave one disappointed. Sequels are typically guaranteed to suck, expectations either impossible to meet or the scope of the original too difficult to duplicate. But, I have to say that a lot of my worry cleared up before I’d even listened to the album. I downloaded the promo and the genre came up as “Get High.” I laughed and threw on the headphones expecting the best at that point.

I felt that Earth’s AODDOL I was an immersive slice of epic-centric Americana, a dirt encrusted soundscape of loner proportions that told a million stories without artificial country-bred bravado or folk hero self-importance. It was as natural as a sunrise, its repetition and length almost a means for meditation. Dylan Carlson’s second act follows the same mood and swings the same axe, though you do wind up with a more exploratory variation on the theme. For the first two songs, drummer Adrienne Davies is mostly unheard aside from mild cymbal storms and some rattling in the background, “Sigil Of Brass” and “His Did Shine Brightly” both offering jamming opportunities for Carlson and cellist Lori Goldston. The repetition of Earth’s predecessor seems less prominent, though “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)” revisits much of its pace, Davies’ patient hi-hat/kick drum/snare remarking heavily within the rugged guitar/bass combos and Goldston’s quivering bow.

Bassist Karl Blau thuds his way through “The Corascene Dog,” showcasing the low end to some extent, sturdy and consistent. “The Rakehell” deviates slightly, heightening the tempo and modernizing the dynamic. Riffs are sharper, the production more polished; a clarity heard where expanse had before so thoroughly put across an endlessness to Earth’s sound. “Get High” turns to “Sober Up,” the meditative state fading away, though the onset of reality through their music doesn’t sound any less beautiful.