Thursday, March 11, 2010

Animal Psi on Locrian "Territories"

A very thoughtful review from Animal Psi:

And then they were a band. With huge contributions by Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), and Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), the pair of Foisy and Hannum are joined by drummer Andrew Scherer for three of the six tracks to fully realize the metal fetish which informs their distinct brutalism. Assembled by four labels, ‘Territories’ is not only a high watermark for Locrian but a remarkable good-faith gesture by several of the scene’s most vital patron-labels. Akin to the darkest of Coil’s private press, “Inverted Ruins” begins the disc with a single blade of head-splitting feedback quickly offset by a watery melody of synthesizer strain - the maneuver then reversed, reciprocated, cauterized into arbitrary chunks by a Whitehouse laser – and tattered, immediate percussion, all while Solotroff adds a wonderfully-dissembled John Balance sermon (lyrics included in the liner notes). Lamont’s saxophone smoothes out with sustained tones and murmuring strings in the cold-ass passage “Between Barrows”, a magnificent deception leading into the twin central peaks of “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism” and “Ring Road”: the former a deteriorating black metal of sheet-metal crash and howling vocals ala Wolves in the Throne Room, sooty with tape effects, its ten minutes are matched by the latter, a busy erasure of heat-swollen synth sequences and distorted guitar phased in trick wall of sound texture. Clean lines of guitar noir form the disc’s second interlude like a test track leading into the crackling transmissions which begin “The Columnless Arcade”, accumulating layers of noisy curtain which part midtrack to expose, like a secret less shameful than indulgent, a belligerent prog-metal of pull-offs, sustains, and woven notes - Hannum’s shredded vocals like a wraith beneath the glassy finish of whole tones of Locrian guitar and synthesizer which finally reveal themselves in full. It’s exceedingly rare to anticipate an album exploding onto the scene without some jaded sense of fluke connections or passing fancies but only by an essential power and brilliance which cannot be confused. ‘Territories’ is one of those moments, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving outfit. And if this isn’t the moment which does it for Locrian, I’m probably not alone in feeling relief that they’ll be ours for a little longer. On black vinyl, limited to 500 copies. Highest recommendation.