Thursday, December 8, 2011

DOUBLE REVIEW: A Death Cinematic

Instead of doing two separate A Death Cinematic-related posts, I figured I'd smash them together into one "super article" feature. THE NEW WORLD IS COMING.

A Death Cinematic / Ekca Liena - "Preternatural" (2011) [Small Doses Records]

You know the feeling where you get a split based on your love for one band? Well, my excitement towards Preternatural was fully rooted in my near-addiction to Michigan one-man act A Death Cinematic's post-apocalyptic, post-rock inspired drone. I'd heard some stuff about splitmate Ekca Liena, but not really enough to make me go out of the way to learn anything more. I would like to thank both Joe/Small Doses and K. from A Death Cinematic for giving me that extra push because, guess what, they've made an Ekca Liena fan out of me.

The swirling, ethereal drone that comrpises Ekca Liena's side is absolutely enchanting. Layers of shimmering guitar and organ meld together to make a dense, yet billowing layer of sound, over which delicate, hazy noise gently rests. It's quite beautiful, really, like a deep space meditation, surrounded by some sort of omniscient, celestial being. My first experience with Ekca Liena has proven to be both enthralling and enjoyable, which are two pretty good "E" words when discussing drone-related music.

A Death Cinematic's side shows K. moving into a harsher, much more raw direction when compared to the glimmering heights of his previous Your Fate Twisting, Epic In It's Crushing Moments EP. Thick, sharply distorted drone loops contrast very tastefully with elegant, spidery clean guitars, creating something akin to a raw Barn Owl or a melding of early-and-current-era Earth. The perfect soundtrack to your favorite Cormac McCarthy book; A Death Cinematic does it again.

Beautifully packaged in a "peekaboo" sleeve, you can purchase this wonderful split from the ever-awesome Small Doses, to whom I owe many a review. Sorry, Joe!

A Death Cinematic / Great Falls - "Split" (2011) [Dead Accents]

So apparently this split has been in the works since at least 2007, back when Great Falls went under the name Hemingway. I can only imagine the frustration of sitting on a release idea for four years, but, as they say, good things come to those who wait...and this is good.

A Death Cinematic opens this one with two lengthy tunes that are a little smoother than that stark tone contrast found on the Preternatural split. "Swimming in the Fires, Where The Oceans Touch the Sky" shows K. exploring a simple blues motif, bringing about mental images of dilapidated barns and barren, dusty fields. "Locust Clouds Have Taken To The Horizon" (I absolutely love these song titles) is a much noisier affair, featuring A Death Cinematic's first foray into heavy, plodding, almost dirge-like rhythms. Though not as melodic as his previous affairs, these two tracks show a great amount of evolution within the A Death Cinematic camp, and I hope these stellar elements are used in future releases.

Great Falls is the full-band project of the ever-prolific art mastermind Demian Johnston, who runs the Dead Accents label, is the sole contributor to the Dead Formats blog, and has, most likely, drawn the cover art to one of your recent favorites. Eschewing their usual The Word As Law-era Neurosis worship post-hardcore, Great Falls's mammoth "Mac Arthur Lineman, Wichita Park" is a hefty slab of sinister, noisy, droning doom metal. Chaos is the name of the game, with plodding, low end guitar, bass and drums acting as a rumbling undercarriage to guest vocalist Ajax Storm Wood's "lumbering giant roar" and crippling, dissonant synthesizer. I'm not quite sure if I'm right, but if I am, then Great Falls's half of the split gets the first (and probably only) "veiled Jimmy Webb reference of the year" award, rearranging his two singles "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park." I'm onto your crafty ways, Great Falls.

I don't think there are any copies of this one left, as most Dead Accents releases sell out within the first few days after release, but if you can get your hands on one of these sweet, sweet CDs...get on it.


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