Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Locrian in Womblife

Locrian Drenched Lands/ Rhetoric of Surfaces/ Burying the Carnival/ Exhuming the Carnival (At War With False Noise; Bloodlust!; self-re.) CD/CD-R/c-38 -- This amazing Chicago duo brings a new twist to the genre of so called drone metal. Named either for the mythical Greek tribe or the musical mode of the same name, both allusions are appropriate for the grim, hypnotic desolation that Locrian conjures. Their sound is pretty much unparalleled when we get analytical, not that I want to. Locrian manages to explore the crossover between early Popol Vuh, Frip/Eno circa No Pussyfooting and more recent doom/black metal developments (Earth and Sunn O))) included) with results that are never less than harrowing and deeply enveloping every step of the way. Of the three releases that found their way into my mailbox recently, the Drenched Lands CD is my favorite with its deft mix or languid slow melodies, minor key isolationist loops and endless feed-backing howls. It's an epic that's brilliantly composed and executed from start to finish, and a vinyl version just dropped! The CD includes a massive bonus track every bit the match of its six predecessors. One of the best long players I've heard in '09.

Rhetoric of Surfaces explores similar terrain on a slightly more dissonant mode. Think Skullflower wandering the murky marshes just below the Castle Sunn O))) complete with dark clad minstrels conjuring their mind-bending symphonies of industrial despair. The tracks are longer and grimier in this set -- recorded live for radio -- each offering its own glimpse at echo-drenched tonal voids. Rounding out my dandy box of Locrian madness is the excellent Burying the Carnival/Exhuming the Carnival cassette which results in roughly 38 mins of scorched trance dirge -- tectonic bass hum and squealing angular guitars beneath vocal howls of death on side a, something slightly more exultant on the flip. The guitar work is positively vertiginous and devastating in a way that only amplified feedback can be. The aural equivalent to greyfield-sickness stuck in a lockgroove. Decay should not be this beautiful.