Thursday, October 14, 2010
Locrian - "The Crystal World" (2010) [Utech Records]
Chicago's favorite drone band, Locrian, have sure been keeping themselves busy this year. Having already released ANOTHER full-length this year alone (as well as recording a new split and separate collaboration, along with other surprises that will be released next year), this experimental trio shows that quality and quantity can go hand-in-hand. Recently teaming up with percussionist/electronics wizard Steven Hess of such bands as Haptic, Pan•American, and many other various projects, we see Locrian's core duo of Terence Hannum and Andre Foisy "pushing the limits" further than any of us could imagine.
Already this year, with their last full length, "Territories," we saw Locrian utilize a session drummer (Mr. A. Scherer of Colorado doom band Velnias), along various other collaborators, and even flirt with black metal. This time around, we see a different face of Locrian; a much more reserved, ethereal alter-ego last seen on their first full-length, "Drenched Lands", but at the same time "The Crystal World" unveils an entirely different monster, trudging along at a doom pace.
Texture, as it has been for every groundbreaking release in Locrian's catalog, is the key word for "The Crystal Words." This lumbering behemoth features the use of pianos, traditional and treated percussion (including bowed cymbals, a favorite of mine), tape manipulation, synthesizers, many, many guitars, and now Locrian has expanded into the bowed string department. Each of these elements come together in a swirling, otherworldly (perhaps crystal? har dee har) experience. Throughout this album, this Chicago trio ebbs and flows seamlessly between deep, brooding ambiance, distant, rich drones, disembodied howls, swirling psychedelia, and crushing heaviness.
From the beginning, with the tragic, terrifying "Triumph of Elimination," all the way to the end, with the post-rock-tinged, syrupy "Elevations and Depths," Locrian rears its head and proclaims that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Paired with a second disc, "Extinction", a 53-minute meditative drone piece, "The Crystal World" proves itself to be among the best releases of 2010.