Eventually, it all comes back to noise. Every peak, every height, every genre inevitably gets broken down and reduced to its most primitive and minimalist essence, allowed to start anew, begin again, rise from the ashes… whatever. Proven time and time again, it’s the noise factor that allows for creative growth, its foundation suitable to build something cohesive.
It makes sense, once you consider this, that the first decipherable statement to screech from the analog slump of “Inverted Ruins,” introductory track from ambient metal duo, Locrian, is “Tradition has failed.” Although more of an indictment of conventional wisdom, or the human tendency to allow habit to automatically dictate behavior, it’s also reason enough to create something unusual. Obviously.
As constructors of their own brand of Avant noise metal, Locrian members André Foisy and Terence Hannum spend a lot of time fashioning aural dwellings, the amps kicking out less a form of music than a form of abstraction. Last year’s Drenched Lands was essentially a cassette playing back some nightmarish creations, bookended by six-string sorrow. Their new album, Territories, brings more music to the creepscape, “Inverted Ruins” a slow and steady blender of industrial squeal, garage percussion and synthesizer. The swelling science fiction tone of “Between Barrows” leads into “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism,” which is probably the album’s most straightforward moment. Guitars blaze, drums shatter, screams are buried under the weight of static and other obscuring noise pollutant.
Stormy avalanches, industrial catastrophe, perpetual pulsations… “Ring Road” essentially breathes as guitars grind their way through the sonic murk, a hissing valve the suitable backdrop for loose guitar play in “Antediluvian Territory.”
With “The Columnless Arcade,” Locrian generate a four-minute chorus line of machined drone before turning to their instruments for the song’s remaining length. Screams are cold and far off, the music itself surprisingly passionate. Melody gets some attention, Territories an attempt at building more out of Locrian’s dark expanses while not completely abandoning that part of their persona.
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