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Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Band To Burn One To-Locrian

From the heart of Chicago, Illinois comes an awesome band for you guys to check out. Since their inception in late 2005, Locrian have been honing their sound; working and re-working material; finding the right blend of noise, power electronics, dark ambient, and black metal to work into their sound. Drenched Lands is Locrian's first full-length studio recording of all new material, and unfolds with an almost narrative structure. It starts with a slow descent into a dark abyss, moving torturedly, gradually rediscovering the light, then leaving you where everything began - completely transformed. The hour-long disc is rounded out by an extended bonus track previously unavailable in any digital format. The black-on-black disc is packaged in an arigato pack with a 4-panel insert. Limeted Edition of only 1000 copies. Co-released by At War With False Noise.


"Almost disturbingly prolific, this is the latest (though that might change by the time you read this) disc from this noise/drone/metal duo. While they have been cranking the releases out in their relatively short career, they have at least been consistent with the quality of their releases, and Drenched Lands, for all its metal look and presentation, is one of the more subtle releases I have yet to hear.

At War With False Noise/Small Doses

The opening track, "Obsolete Elegy in Effluvia and Dross," sounds like it could be some black metal track, replete with battle axes, corpse paint, and scrawny Nordic men posing in the snow, but instead it starts with simple, clear guitar strumming that is allowed to breathe, with only a subtle underpinning of synth hums, which is a lot more pure and open than a lot of their backcatalogue.

This is pretty much the lightest moment here, the next one, "Ghost Repeater," leads off with a buzzing amplifier and subtle guitar scrapes. High frequency pings start to come in, giving a very rhythmic, but natural sense of minimalism. Towards the second half of its lengthy duration, an anemic guitar squall comes in to push the treble levels even higher. Unfortunately the mix mostly neglects the lower end of the sonic spectrum, and would benefit more from a bit of bass added.

The brittle mix continues into "Barren Temple Obscured By Contaminated Fogs," but is more of an asset. The bits of clear guitar and digital organ sound better skewed this way, and the screamed metal vocals and white noise sound a bit more like a lo-fi Sunn O))), but more experimental and less metal. This contrasts the more bassy "Epicedium" that showcases guitar and some ambient tones, a more open work that, once the taut guitar playing kicks in towards the second half, has the structure and tension of a great film soundtrack.

"Obsolete Elegy in Cast Concrete" brings back the pained vocals that do sound very black metal, but are contrasted with the distant electronic bells and more airy synths, where even the chugging metal riffs keep it away from boring and clich├ęd metal territory. The disc ends with the 30-plus minute "Greyfield Shrines," which is the same live recording I reviewed in its original LP form. While it loses some of its charm as a bonus track rather than a heavy slab of vinyl, it still is a strong and well composed piece of live material.

I must say I’m a bit nervous since each release I’ve heard from this project is managing to be somewhat different, yet still consistent with the overall vibe of the band, and have not lost any bit of quality. Any time I see this frequency of music being released, I anticipate boredom to set in, but it has yet to happen with Locrian." (Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed.com)


"With a cover that wouldn’t look out of place on a Corrupted record, one could be mistaken for thinking that this record is going to fall into the heavier, riff driven end of doom-metal, when infact it manages to teeter more on its fringes. Locrian is an altogether more majestic and ethereal beast than perhaps their visual aesthetic would suggest and while Drenched Lands is a record that is primarily driven by audial manipulations and dronescapes it also has a more sinister edge to it.

Someone once wrote of Nadja that they were like doom-metals’ awkward, poetry writing cousin. The same too is true of Locrian only they are clearly more influenced by Aleister Crowley and have a penchant for flirting with the occult, given the blackened vocals, darker electronics and harrowing atmospheres within their loop driven gloom. Musically Locrian feel like the desolation of Halo Manash combined with the vibrant, uplifting play-throughs of Keith Fullerton Whitman or Area C. Dark chainsaw esque guitars are overlaid with open, light melodies in a juxtaposition of light and dark that at times culminates in overdriven sound devastation, while creating a smooth soundscape at others. Vocals are interestingly interspersed amongst the flow of the drone and seem to take more of a backseat to the music in the sense that they seem to sit behind it, although never become lost. The variety in this album is excellent especially given that it is mainly guitar/synth drone which can, without innovation be a limiting genre. Those types of people who enjoy artists such as Halo Manash, Area C, KFW, Greg Davis, darker Nadja and probably even Black/White era sunn O))) will undoubtedly be into this record.

‘Drenched Lands’ is an interesting record in many ways, not least because it is the coming together of two great DIY labels in the form of Small Doses (USA) and At War With False Noise (Scotland) but also because - given the chance - it will engross you in a sea of awesome drones and harrowing blackness." (Chris Naughton, Gradiations Of Morbidity)

At War With False Noise

1 comment:

  1. Locrian is awesome! Highly commended for those into dark undulations offset by resplendent guitar work.

    Like the page here BTW...Keep up the good work ;-)


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