Friday, March 20, 2009

Locrian - Drenched Lands (At War with False Noise / Small Doses CD)

Sorry to be a bit behind on the blog posts lately... I'm knee deep in the dregs of senior project, so it's been tough finding a minute to get around to the piles of goodies taking over my desktop. Killer show last night didn't help either, as the Burnt Hills and Century Plants guys laid a bunch of stuff on me as well as Sam Goldberg, whose Winter Hallucinations will for sure get some coverage over as well. Figured I'd start off with this little morsel though, as it's served ample time in waiting for review.

Locrian is Chicago's Terence Hannum and Andre Foisy, a duo that has spent considerable time (3-4 years or so) honing its dimly lit and brooding atmospheres. Walking about a million lines between bleak genre types--doom metal, dark ambient, drone, prog, etc...--the duo have crafted a work of real worth here. This is their first studio recording, and they use it to their advantage, building a minor suite of sorts that spends its hour refining and redefining what the band is capable of.

The opening "Obsolete Elegy in Effluvia and Dross" is a guitar strummer that evokes some pretty prog-y zones, real moody and song driven. But it's two minutes are merely a palette cleanser, as the following ten-minute monster "Ghost Repeater" lays down enough throbbing bass and elongated guitar cries to fill your skull caverns for days. It's all bleak, but also beautifully recorded and plentifully detailed, avoiding the opposing pitfalls of over-ambitious riffage or uninteresting mono-syllabic ideas.

"Barren Temple Obscured By Contaminated Fogs" continues the voyage, this time sinking the casket lower with washed out Sunn O))) style death cries and gutteral grossnesses. Yet Locrian exude none of the academic slant that Sunn do, going with their gut and letting the works proceed as they will: synth arpeggios and, eventually, guitar accompaniment build into a work that is intricate enough to carve out their own corner of the doom drone niche. Wild.

Following up the previous track with "Epicedium" is a good call. Panning synth washes gently lull the track in building it steadily toward an almost Emeralds-like zone of simmer and shimmer that trickles away any of the bad vibes activated thus far. When a thick wall of guitar comes in overhead it takes it off into even deeper pockets of psychedelic gloom that just slay.

"Obsolete Elegy in Cast Concrete," the second elegy so deemed, brings the thick crud back in with near grind rhythms and momentum. Total barn-burner, but it doesn't hold a candle to the closing "Greyfield Shrines." This 30-minute leviathan is so densely packed with ideas it's tough to get it all in. Starts off nice and mellow but by minute thirteen it's all there and it never leaves. The buildup is slow enough that when it erupts it actually throws you off guard too, a rare trait in these days of maximum overload all the time. Just a fuckin reckless monster, super textural and super dense. To think you could've spent that time watching Rock of Love or something... damn shame. On the other hand, it might make killer accompaniment. Total slayer of an album and, for once, printed in a relatively large edition of 1000 from two killer labels. Crazy heavy, crazy great.

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