Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Locrian - The Crystal World (Utech, 2010)

Locrian - At Night's End Link removed by request.
Locrian - Elevations And Depths (Excerpt)

These dudes just don't know when to stop. Which is definitely a good thing for us. The world could never have too much Locrian. Especially when they get exponentially better with each new release being even more amazingly badass and in a totally different way than the last. The Crystal World (with Steven Hess of Pan American, On, etc adding some percussion & electronics) takes the blackened ambient heart of Locrian's other albums and juices it up, dropping all the metal baggage, creating a dark as fuck stillbirth of a noise record.

As much as I love Locrian's heavy riffs, even without them this might be one of my favorites of theirs and is easily the best crafted. Lots of warped vocals, like the bleak tortured screaming on numerous tracks, or the shamanistic meditation oms & haunted angelic serenades on "At Night's End," which is the most killer fucking track there is. It's a slow candle burning walk through a moonlit church until halfway through the song, the riffs & drums come crashing in and the chanting blows up, filling the entire nave with the lost hope of redemption. Plus, up until that point on the record, it's all subdued meandering darkness, nothing too loud or epic. It totally catches you by surprise and is all the more crushing because of it.

That's about as heavy as it gets on The Crystal World, though. Sure there's doomy percussion and buzzing guitars, it wouldn't be Locrian otherwise. But the emphasis isn't on the devastation, it's on the textured desolation & hidden tragedy in every day life. Swirling pianos mix with mournful riffs creating a beautiful mess of faux sweet dreams. A thick crust of crunching feedback crumbles away into a slow motion avalanche of demon alarms and rupturing stone howls. Black as fuck nightmares caused by buried hatred, the distant scars of pain & anguish fade into a massive wall of endlessly beautiful gray static.

Locrian keep outdoing themselves. I remember hearing them for the first time and thinking, "Holy shit there's no way they could get any better than this." And EVERY record is better. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Crystal World is Locrian at the top of their game but I'm not going to say they can't do better because they obviously can and will. I can't think of a single reason not to find this record as soon as it comes out and play it every day until your death.

P.S. This review is for the LP version. The 2xCD version has a second CD (duh) with an extra hour long track that Locrian didn't want to split up to make it fit on an LP.


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