Terence Hannum & André Foisy comprise Locrian, and Rain of Ashes comprises what, to me, is the perfect drone-disguised-as-metal document.
- Pretty much any Nadja/Aidan Baker collab release that leans toward the noise/drone end;
- Tim Hecker, Dead Texan and the other Kranky-ites;
- The in-between moments on Deerhunter/Atlas Sound albums;
- A desert-blur noisefest from Destructo Swarmbots;
- Pussygutt and pretty much anything on 20 Buck Spin;
- Dead C, Pumice and a lot of other N.Z. tape-hiss veterans on or off Siltbreeze;
- Your Death (not a band name, but, yes, the End of You, FUCKER) …
The title track, a nearly half-hour BEHEMOTH, starts with a throbbing blob of electricity and a crackling guitar, crests on the waves of a ear-ringing tone and improv-style chants and settles into the brain like a tumor with its addictive, warm-tub, fever-dream ambiance.
There’s screaming, too, and mayhem and murder, but it’s never implicitly stated. For that it’s all the more creepier. Once the programmed gurgles of synth sweep in slowly, effortlessly, I’m asleep, adrift, in hibernation, floating, dreaming, stirring, opiating, dilating …
This section reminds me of the long, super-trippy intro to Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle” (a song I find myself referencing all the time), a mind-melt that keeps the warm vibes flowing and sinks into the brain like a searing liquid, hot to the touch and addictive once you let it take you down the drain.
“Rain of Ashes” is my favorite Locrian moment in a sea of superior black metal/drone/ambient/noise overtures. Ever-conscious of the listener, it trudges without tripping on too much cushioning, nurturing its motif until it’s time to move on to the next strangely compelling hybrid of the genres mentioned above.
An expanse of strumming, panning, pitch-exploding and plaster BLAST closes the cut out as the themes explored in the previous minutes make second appearances, your ears searching for purchase, your patience tested to the bone. What will come next? Will it hold you? WHY SO MUCH MYSTERY IN THIS TOUGH-LOVE LOCRIAN LIFE?
“Sehsa Fo Niar” is what you get for your stick-with-it-ness, a reward worth its toils tenfold. “Fo Niar” is a more immediate thrill than “Ashes,” drowning its contents in liquid-nitrogen death then hitting it with a ball-peen hammer. This is where the noise takes over and the senses erode from too much sugary ear-syrup death candy.
Soon (OK, 10 minutes later) the synths that trickled into the nooks and crannies of your throbbing brain stem awhile back, as part of “Rain of Ashes,” reappear and radiate a flourescent-/nuclear-green glow that you know is dangerous but you can’t look away from … claustrophobia, panic, back-of-neck sweat, doubt, isolation, nervosa, ADD, OCD, WTF …
I can’t get over how much more addicting this is than, say, 90 percent of the noise/drone you hear these days. Rain of Ashes, as a two-song set, is a statement, a FUCK YOU to the Old Man, a king-of-the-mountain challenge that dares any crust/noise/prog/metal/scum-blast rockers to create something as ominous, as all-encompassing, as IT OWNS YOU-ish.
I don’t exactly see Greg Anderson/Stephen O’Malley of Southern Lord shitting themselves over this, but they have to be at least considering signing this band. You heard it here first, people; it’s happening.