Dylan Carlson founded the band in 1989 along with Slim Moon and Greg Babior, taking the title "Earth" from Black Sabbath's original name. Carlson has remained the core of the band's line-up throughout its changes. Outside of the underground music world, Carlson is perhaps best known for having been a close friend of grunge icon Kurt Cobain, as well as the person who purchased the gun that Cobain later used to commit suicide. Cobain sang lead vocals in the song "Divine and Bright", from a demo included on the re-release of the live album Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars.
The drone doom band Sunn O))), who formed as a tribute to Earth, were named after their collective amplifiers of choice, Sunn. Sunn O))) also has a song entitled "Dylan Carlson" on its demo. The drone doom supergroup Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine are named after the second song from Earth's first full-length album, Earth 2: Special Low-Frequency Version.
The album Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I was released on February 22, 2011. The band have been chosen to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival curated by ATP & Portishead in September 2011 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.