One of the dudes in Chicago’s Locrian, don’t know which, sent me this tape. I was previously unaware of both these projects but this tape turned out to be a nice little surprise.
Locrian’s piece “Burying the Carnival” takes the A-side. It begins unassumingly with a creeping drone. Rather quickly a light shroud of prickly noise begins to swallow it. Meanwhile, a weird fucked-with, barbed wire guitar provides an unusual counterpoint to the looming dark swirl of distortion pervading the track. There is something that sounds like acoustic guitar but it also sounds extremely distorted but not really like a distorted acoustic guitar which confounds me but whatever, it’s working wonders. I’m a big fan of guitar-centric drone so this is right up my alley but there’s one part where there’s even a bit shredding(!/?). “Shred-drone” seems like an oxymoron (and impossible) but Locrian has invented it here and it’s blowing my mind. The organ/keyboard/everything else should be recognized as well because I think they really make the guitar parts work because they have enough of a presence to balance the piece between guitar/non-guitar elements without necessarily being at the forefront or raging against the guitar. It's essential without over extending itself. Locrian spikes the same black vein that Hototogisu or Family Underground do, and this piece is up there with the best stuff of both those acts. Locrian is definitely working in their own minefield which is really neat to see, cause sometimes when artists go for the scathing, black noise/drone thing they end with similar results but that isn’t the case here. Oh yeah, this piece was recorded live too. Holy shit.
As for the other side, I’m not sure I’m qualified to review it but, hey, I’m a renaissance man, I’ll give it my best shot. Continent (totally dig the name) plays what I’m going to guess is called “metalcore”. I think that’s a real genre, but I really am not versed in all the “–cores”. Continent does the cookie monster vocal thing which unfortunately I think I’m innately averse to but no matter. “Widow Insitania” begins with heavy calculated riffing and keeps it coming. Other than the vocals, the track is quite fun to listen to. Continent seems to know how to balance raw energy/volume/whathaveyou with melodically sensible songwriting. “Gulf of Baine” may be my favorite track here cause man, fuck, there are just some awesome riffs here, provoking nonstop foot stomping/head nodding/imaginary moshing. The riffs keep coming, seeming to shift slightly before my ears, getting better and better. “Bel Amica Rolls” has one of those classic speedy, low-end shockwave riffs I’ve always dug in metal. “t44-9w” closes the tape with some raucous, revved up passages of dexterous fingers and muscular double bass drum. The track has a dizzying amount of tempo shifts and split second twists and turns. It would be the perfect soundtrack to a rollercoaster ride in pitch black. (I apologize to Continent and to the readers for the utter ineptness of the reviewing in this paragraph.)
So there it is, quite an anomalous tape, for my collection anyway. Now I have a tape where I can study the sounds a black hole being destroyed and flip it over to get pumped up to go find my own black hole to beat the shit out of. The release is on a yellow tape with labels and a doubled-sided fold-out j-card with info on one side and a photo of Eraserhead-esque urban decay. The tape is self-released so I’d try going to Locrian’s myspace to pick it up.