As my reviews of both of these projects over the past few years surely indicates, these are two of my favorite artists working in the post-post metal field, approaching the genre from a conceptual, almost academic mindset rather than a traditionalist one. It was perfectly logical for them to work together, and this 7" makes for a tantalizing teaser for their upcoming collaborative EP.
Locrian has, to me, always been more about the examination of metal in all its facets: rather than working with headbanging riffs or pounding drums, their work has been a careful deconstruction, focusing on the subtle melodies and ambiences that are so often obscured within the genre. "In The Absence of Light" at first feels like their earliest work: a deep, submarine guitar chug from Andre Foisy that has a more simplistic, drone type quality to it. That is until Terence Hannum’s synths come in, a soft, almost ambient series of meditative notes that clashes with the grinding chaos. Once the echoing, monastic vocals arrive, the whole song takes on a liturgical quality, simultaneously pious and blasphemous, and coming together beautifully.
Jenks Miller's Horseback project, on the flip side, is a bit different than what I had expected to hear. Horseback is usually all about the riff: slow, pounding guitar passages that become hypnotic in their repetition. On "Oblivion Eaters," however, he’s dabbling in layered, rapid arpeggios and what sounds like expansive keyboards buried deep under them. The varying layers synthesize into an almost melodic underpinning with dense clusters of guitar noise blasting away. Miller’s vocals are once again heavily treated and effected to become another instrument in the dense mix.
The two sides compliment each other nicely, shaping the traditional signifiers of heavy metal into distinct, but consistent compositions. Considering this is the work of the two projects independent of one another, I have high hopes for the upcoming New Dominions collaboration of the two.