Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cracked on Locrian

Here is a recent review of the Locrian "Territories" LP from Austria's Cracked zine:

LOCRIAN – territories

Dystopias always had a big place especially within noisy and dark circles of heavy music. From Wolf Eyes to Sunn0))) the aural description of the downfall of society, the destruction of nature by mankind and the ongoing global suicide by humanity has been a source for all kinds of impressive and great music. Especially droning, noisy and heavy music. And it is also true that there is an intricate beauty in these sentiments. That the random rust, obliteration or damage on abandoned buildings or factories has its own fascinating aesthetic. (Check out for further input.) So far it seems there is no need to conjure up foreign fantasy worlds with dragons or demons or devils to find powerful images of destruction. Actually, to me, all this fantasy shit is a sign of lacking creativity to me.

The new Locrian CD somehow got buried underneath the rubble that stacks beneath my stereo system and seems to grow by itself like the trash mountains outside an urban metropolis. It is thematically a fitting place, but completely unfitting as “territories” is probably the most mature and evolved release of Locrian I have heard up to now. A lot has been said and written about the kinds of nightmares and storylines the music of Locrian has kindled in the minds of reviewers, but with their first full band approach the music has turned one step bigger, two steps more complex and three steps higher on impact. AndrĂ© Foisy and Terence Hannum, who are still the main powerlines of Locrian, have recruited a small crew of likeminded musicians to blow up their visions into real nightmare size.

There are some names you might now if you are deep into the genres of doom, black metal and general darkness in music. And especially those parts where they mix with even further out ideas, such as urban noise, dark drones and ambient or the as of yet unnamed number of musicians interested in the humming and buzzing of deep bass sounds alone. To be specific: Andrew Scherer from Velnias on drums, Bruce Lamont from Yakuza on Saxophone, Black Judd from Nachtmystium on guitar and Mark Solotroff from Bloodyminded and Anatomy of Habit on more vocals and synthesizers. It is still astonishing how Locrian are one of the few bands employing a number of keyboards and even a saxophone and still sound dark, heavy and as doom as possible. Actually, it should be astonishing that this is still astonishing in the 21st century. Maybe it should be astonishing that we are still alive in the 21st century, but this is a different thought.

Locrian have always dwelled in slow paces, and they do so now within their self-defined, lose bandcontext as well. They dive into these long-winding powernoise drones with intricate shifts in frequencies that suddenly turn into a black metal track without ever losing the epic proportions (“Procession of ancestral Brutalism”). It is these moments that I think fit them best and work to the biggest impact in the new line-up. The pure explorations of bass versus feedback versus noise versus the sounds of urban decay are still interesting, darkly fascinating and able to induce all kinds of unruly thinking. Just how they mix a melancholic organ line with feedback and rumbling noise somewhere deep in “Ring Road” is a moment of radiating beauty. But finally it is those headbanging moments (even if it is very slow banging) that are new and powerful and therefore most remarkable.