Friday, December 9, 2011

Locrian--The Clearing

Locrian's "The Clearing" is another record that has been on my highly anticipated release list this year. I finally got this gem in the mail yesterday, and my turntable is very pleased. I first found out about Locrian after the release of their brilliant last LP, "The Crystal World". I've been hooked ever since and there definitely seems to be no signs of this slowing down.

The album starts off with one of the more accessible tracks I've heard by this band, "Chalk Point". The track is based on a repeating phrase that starts off simply. Layer upon layer is built, bringing it to a fantastic climax. Chanted vocals round out this piece, giving a very nice lulling effect. There's nothing disturbing about this track, but it definitely puts you in the frame of mind for what's to come on the record. 

The LP moves into the next track, "Augury in an Evaporating Tower". This track feels a bit more like something like classic Locrian. The vocals are haunting and disturbing, much more in a black metal fashion, though the music is much more ambient in nature. 

"Coprolite" is a beautiful instrumental, based on a 2 chord guitar phrase. This track reminds me of, dare I say it, Pink Floyd. The guitar chords are reminiscent to a track I've heard and can't recall right now. What sets this apart, is the brilliant layering on top of the chords. Everything has a slightly distorted feel to it. Beautiful haunting keyboards round out the track. A fantastic end to the first side of this LP

"The Clearing" takes up the entire second side of the LP. The track starts off with a steady keyboard note that is filtered, changing the frequency. Layers are added, then taken away. Distant sounds in the background pull you in. A slow steady kick drum precedes the most disturbing vocal track on the record. What started off as a relaxing ambient track, morphs into something else entirely. The feel changes, pulling you into a nightmare of sorts. As the track moves on, drone is the name of the game. As soon as you feel the track is calming down, the nightmare begins again. This track has a way of giving you a false sense of security, only to jerk it away again. Layers are then stripped out, but the original single keyboard note lies under all of it. Walls of feedback are carefully placed in the mix. Layers are expertly added and removed. There are so many subtle things happening in this track, it's difficult to keep up with them. A good thing, in my humble opinion. Towards the end of the track, walls of ambient noise have taken over. More distant vocals in the background, sound as if someone is trying to escape from some distant room. All of this builds up to be torn down at the end, ending with a single repeating kick drum. It would be impossible to describe everything heard in this track, as there are so many interesting layers in it. Suffice it to say, it is pure Locrian. Fantastic end to the record. 

If you're into noise, drone, ambient, or even avant-garde black metal, you NEED this release. "The Clearing" is not as disturbing as "The Crystal World", but I love the progression with this LP. It can still be purchased at Fan Death Records here

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