When Earth recorded the sessions that make up A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction in 1990, Seattle hadn’t yet become the music industry’s alt-Mecca and Kurt Cobain, whose familiar whine graces the track “Divine And Bright,” wasn’t yet canonized “Grunge Lennon.” Despite the possible rewards the band’s geography might’ve earned them, not to mention Earth founder Dylan Carlson’s association with Cobain, (Didn’t Carlson buy the gun?), Earth is a cult band and the drone they generate has mostly evaded rock’s mainstream despite the number of bands it’s spawned over the last twenty years.

A compilation/reissue of sorts, A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction is a document of Drone’s primordial happenings, Earth’s ever-lasting buzz having since trudged its way into the collective and reverberating heart of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, sunn O))) a byproduct of their unified admiration. While not exploring the arranged intricacies that O’Malley and Anderson have achieved, songs like “Ouroboros Is Broken” trace the technical proficiency and patience found in their music. Even Electric Wizard’s slow fade out in “Weird Tales” seems to have come from this song, the underlying grace of tone working its way above the snarling guitars though not quite breaking onto the surface.

Expect long amplified murkiness dressed down like a first draft. The two chapters of “A Bureaucratic Desire For Revenge” both define and defile Drone’s inaccessibly repetitive nature with simplistic and sluggish riffs. By the time you get to “Ouroboros,” (its length a little over 18 minutes), the sonic walls Earth builds around your ears are thick enough to climb, so the viscous fluidity of “Geometry Of Murder” welcomingly provides the album some color. Even the industrial clang of “German Dental Work” offers the sludge a few percussive avenues to explore and lightens the burden carried by the first half of the album. There’s relative urgency to “Dissolution I,” its awkward and persistent march giving way for sporadic opportunities to wallow in sonic dismay.

Cobain’s contribution, “Divine And Bright,” acts as an interesting tidbit of pre-grunge obscurity. Originally released as a demo from the Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars re-release, his voice is mostly buried under the band’s distortion. Still, the song is captivating in the same way Nirvana was and Cobain’s charisma shines through. Melody-wise, it’s the album’s most musical song and it interestingly foreshadows the amplified merge of pop and primal scream that R.E.M., The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and, in the end, Nirvana were going to bring to FM radio.

While I wouldn’t call the album an objective masterpiece, its importance is weighed in historical context, representing a moment in time before Alternative music went major label and the band’s consistent drone added another subgenre to metal’s ever-widening musical possibilities. Sunn amplifiers continue to benefit.