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Locrian, "The Clearing"

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cover imageWith only a single and a few collaborations out this year, Chicago's Locrian have been rather quiet, with this being their first (and so far only) full-length release of the year.  The Clearing both recalls their earliest, noise-addled drone work while still looking forward to their current unique take on metal/prog/kraut rock.

Fan Death Records

Locrian

At only four songs, the album is a bit more of a terse statement than the likes of Territories and The Crystal World, both of which more closely mirrored a "traditional" album structure.  With three mid-length pieces and a side-long closer, each piece stretches out and is given time and room to develop.

The opening "Chalk Point" is the most consistent with their more recent song-oriented approach.  Initially beginning with a lo-fi soundscape and oddly treated percussion from Steven Hess, the dark piano and slow rhythmic lurch eventually explodes into squealing metal guitar from Andre Foisy and full on drums.  With the arrival of distant, detached vocals from Terence Hannum, the piece develops into the sweeping drama of prog rock, but with the experimentation of the best kraut artists.

"Augury in an Evaporating Tower" more closely matches Locrian’s earlier days, with its opening noise buzzes and layers of droning synth that eventually meld together into some sort of melodic construct.  The distant guttural vocals and treated percussion exemplify this, going more back to their noise roots.  This carries over a bit into "Coprolite," which is built upon a foundation of heavily processed, reversed guitar tones and electronic textures.  With the use of percussion and acoustic guitar, the dissonant elements are well balanced by traditional ones.

The closing title track covers the entirety of the second half of the record.  Initially a slow build from repetitive bass synth throbs and static outbursts, pained vocals and percussion arrives to give it more of that song-oriented sound that "Chalk Point" had before.  However, just as quickly the structure falls away, leaving a ritualistic throb that echoes a living, breathing organism.  With each passing moment it becomes bleaker and darker before collapsing upon itself, slowly dying.

Like the recent "Dort Ist Der Weg" single, The Clearing shows how well Locrian has become at balancing their musical impulses with their raw, chaotic noise background.  The two come together perfectly throughout this album, which does a great job at defying genre conventions and any preconceptions.  This is a wonderful balance of dissonance and melody, light and dark, melody and noise.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 30 October 2011 22:28  


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