Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Locrian - Drenched Lands (At War With False Noise / Small Doses, 2009)

Locrian - Obsolete Elegy In Lost Concrete

Locrian's first full length of (mostly) new material, Drenched Lands, has been written about on many blogs, some high profile (lookin' at you Brainwashed) and others only slightly bigger than I. Normally when something gets too much exposure, I tend to pass on writing about it for (hopefully) obvious reasons. Unless said record is that good. Good enough to warrant another review on another blog in the hopes that maybe even one more person will hear about it. Drenched Lands is more than worthy of another post. In fact, it demands it.

Drenched Lands is a very very special record that dances along the lines of drone, noise, doom, and black metal and it does it so well without ever actually being really metal. At most I'd say it gets to being dark and heavy but never quite metal. It opens with "Obsolete Elegy In Effluvia and Dross" and has a melancholic guitar riff that sounds like a doomed out Americana. Definitely no metal here. Then "Ghost Repeater" shows up with it's haunting buzzing blackened ambience that drones on for over 10 minutes in the most glorious way possible. And there's a gong! Like one of those giant ones you see in ancient Tibetan monasteries. "Barren Temple Obscured by Contaminated Fogs" starts out straightforward enough, with some creepy droning synths and guitars but then Terence Hannum comes in, wailing over the discordant static with his best BM vocals. Totally fucked. Totally awesome.

"Epicedium," one of my favorite tracks, is mostly guitar, all echoes and feedback, with a synth core that creates a frightening yet laid back atmosphere. And "Obsolete Elegy In Cast Concrete" is probably the most metal track out of the bunch, with relentless strumming and more BM vocals that end up conjuring the same riff from the first song. Somehow they manage to make it edgier, making it one of the best slow moving metal riffs I've heard in a while. It's the kind of riff that's mournful and beautiful at the same time (aka my favorite kind). This is seriously one of the best songs I've heard all year. Fucking dramatic as hell, so epic and gorgeous.

One of the best parts of Drenched Lands is also the only song that's not new material. The last track, "Greyfield Shrines," is a 30 minute masterful monument that is easily one of the best songs on the album and could have a review all for itself. It's labeled as a "bonus track" because it was released as it's own 12" last year. As awesome as this probably sounds on vinyl, I'm sure it's nice to be able to listen to the whole thing uninterrupted, without having to flip the record over. So thanks for that, guys.

I feel like Locrian have really channeled all of their energy into Drenched Lands and it absolutely shows. This is a fucking stunning album that deserves all the praise it's been getting. Now that Locrian have made this ridiculously amazing album, I hope they haven't tired themselves out. They better have something up their sleeves for the follow up.

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