Monday, May 18, 2009

Locrian – Drenched Lands [At War With False Noise/Small Doses]

Killer new full length by the new future of Chicago now that Obama has moved out. Lucky for you all, it is pro-pressed so it’s still in print as I write this which happens about 12% of the time.
Every new thing I hear from Locrian is consistent with the greatness of their past stuff but the duo’s work is also getting tighter and more seamless. Refined isn’t the right word but now that they’ve burrowed out their hole in the earth they’re smoothing out all the rough edges. Don’t get me wrong, they are still dishing out planet-sized sonic offerings but they’ve become even more dense and massive.
Anyhow, let’s actually talk about the music. “Obsolete Elegy in Effluvia and Dross” is more like an intro than a full piece, but it deserves to be a bit longer. Based around a two-chord progression and ever so gradual, disembodied vocals it’s a pretty hypnotic piece. A beautiful keyboard part only furthers this at the end then we’re instantly transported to the alternate universe of “Ghost Repeater” which is real hypnotic as well but not in a pretty way. Putting it bluntly, “Ghost Repeater” is the jam. It’s ten minutes long, but as far as I’m concerned it’s the hit single of the bunch. A bass throb runs the course of the piece and a long two-note synth part with menace to spare, casts a shadow of unease over everything. It’s like casting a shadow over the biggest, blackest fuckin’ cloud you’ve ever seen. It can be none more black. The track really knots up your stomach and puts you into a strange submissive state, like this thing is freaking the shit out of you but you are totally under its spell. Some sort of sonic Stockhausen syndrome or something. When feedback-ridden guitars show up, the monster’s momentum only increases. You gotta hear this track, totally essential to your life. Anyway, “Ghost Repeater” is the peak but the other stuff’s all quality too. “Barrne Temple Obscured by Contaminated Fogs” whatever the hell that is, features an effective, chemically unbalanced organ bit along with pervasive noise and anguished screaming, which never really has the effect on me it’s supposed to. I like the second half a bit more cause it dials down the screaming a bit so it melds more with the mess of organ notes and guitar parts. “Epicedium” is downright serene with mellow, auto-panned organ and clean guitar arpeggios which occasionally nudge the piece in more dissonant directions. It continues this way for nearly half the track until a two ton fuzzbomb is dropped. Despite the heavy barrage of distortion the piece stays pretty put picks up a newfound sense of urgency, due especially to some fantastic melodies played by an echoing, clean-toned guitar which gets to go solo at the end for a moment. A great, melodically complex work. A tolling bell opens up closer “Obsolete Elegy in Last Concrete.” Searing guitar feedback and sustained organ join it as is Locrian’s custom. The guitar takes about this staggered, juddering bass riff and everything gets real metal. Other tracks of guitar swell around it and I think some more organ is added as well. In the final minutes the duo returns to the chords of the first track making for a beautifully transcendent, rising-from-the-ashes vibe. Quite elegiac just as the title suggests and a damn fine way to end it all.
Its nice cause Locrian’s recent, sold-out LP Greyfield Shrines is on here in full as a totally bitchin' bonus track so it’s a total twofer. The CD is done up nice in one of those pro-printed arigato packs I think they’re called and the CD is all black with an embossed “Locrian”/pentagon on it. Comes with a nice insert/booklet too. One of the better records of year so far.
On a related note, Locrian’s putting on a noise/black metal festival with some others in Chicago called Matchitehew Assembly. Locrian, Bone Awl (yes!), Sword Heaven, Burial Hex and many others are playing so it looks sweet. It happens in a few weeks so check it out if you’re in the area. Info here

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