LOCRIAN Territories (At War With False Noise / Basses Frequences / Small Doses / BloodLust!) lp 14.98
With every single release these guys get better and better, their sound, a constantly evolving, ultra dense blend of abstract black metal and deep ambient dronemusic, the early records were more about energy and vibe than execution, still eminently listenable, heavy and atmospheric, black and brutal, but their skills as composers and arranges have definitely made leaps and bounds, arriving finally at Territories, the latest sprawling epic from this Chicago duo, here, aided and abetted by a whole bunch of guests, including Blake Judd from Nachtmystium, Andrew Scherer, drummer for black metallers Velnias, and Mark Solotroff, power electronics maestro, and man behind Bloody Minded and the BloodLust! label.
And the guests make their presence felt right away, on opener inverted ruins, a smoldering doomic plod, more power electronics than black metal, with Solotroff ranting over a sea of swirling buzz and skree, glitched out electronics, and some simple stripped down drumming. Over the course of the track, it begins to coalesce into a more ominous creep, shedding noise as it goes, before finally slipping into a deep shimmering drone, which introduces the next track, a lush, slow building cinematic dronescape, constantly shifting layers, drifting through clouds of cymbal shimmer and blackened buzzing strings. It's not until nearly the end of side one that black metal rears it's ugly head, a flurry of manic riffing, and they're off, a pounding midtempo blast of raw feral blackness, insane shrieked vocals, chaotic drums, muted riffs, all blurred into a blackened haze, lo-fi and muddy, but also epic and intense.
The flipside opens with another bout of power electronics, dueling synths unfurl undulating layers of wheeze and warble and buzz, laced with shimmering overtones and fragmented melodies, a churning black sonic sea, that eventually fades out leaving, a smoldering stretch of shadowy guitar, of blissed out ambience, a short stretch of crystalline chiming guitars laid over a warm whir, shoegazey and blissed out, which finally leads into the closing track, the weirdest of the bunch, with organ and saxophone, acoustic guitars, and pretty much all the gusts present and accounted for, a bleak buzzing driftscape, sort of post industrial, keening melodies over fractured buzz, and deep rumbles, creaks and skree and groaning low end, finally explode into full on melodic black metal, martial drumming, epic riffing, more tortured vokills, cool tangled woozy minor key melodies, a swirling druggy ambience, weirdly catchy and otherworldly, but still heavy and psychedelic, maybe our favorite track, and the perfect way to wind down this serpentine blackened outsider drone metal journey...