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Locrian & Mamiffer, "Bless Them That Curse You"

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cover imageOn a stop at Steve Albini's famed Electrical Audio studios during a recent joint tour, the Washington state husband and wife duo recorded this collaboration with Chicago’s noise/metal trio, later mixed by Randall Dunn.  The result is a dark, yet captivating set of tracks that brings in bits of drone, black metal, post-rock, and gentle piano passages, bearing the mark of both but sounding entirely unique.

Sige/Utech/Land of Decay/Profound Lore

Locrian, the trio of Terence Hannum (synths/vocals), Andre Foisy (guitar) and Steven Hess (drums) are joined here by Mamiffer, the duo of Faith Coloccia and Isis/Greymachine’s Aaron Turner.  With both projects working in different, but similarly metal-influenced experimental direction, the collaboration makes perfect sense.

Bless Them That Curse You is bookended by two dramatic, genre spanning pieces that open and go out with a bang.  "In Fulminic Blaze" opens with bellowing, Tibetan monk vocal drones and squealing abstract noises to harrowing effect, before being uprooted by a duet of acoustic guitar and piano, to which Steven Hess' measured, understated drumming slides in.  The noisier material from early on reappears and melds in perfectly, further fleshing out the already complex sound.  Towards the end it’s switched over to electric guitar to excellent effect.

The closing piece, the near-20 minute suite of "Metis/Amaranthine/The Emperor" leads off with subtle piano and gentle vocals courtesy of Coloccia, eventually with added guitar and textural keyboard layers.  The mood goes from melancholy to bleak and sinister about a third of the way through, with the piano and vocals eventually overtaken by layers of noise and distant, unidentifiable howling.

The darkness hinted at erupts violently when Foisy's rapid, black metal tinged guitar slides in over militaristic drums that seem to herald armies marching toward an imminent apocalypse.  Dissolving into pure noise, eventually the drums transform into a more traditional rock structure, with Turner taking over vocals in a violent, guttural outburst, before wrapping the album up with quiet feedback.

Between theses monolithic slabs lies a series of more restrained and moody ambient pieces.  The title track goes more of a film score route, with complex layers of drifting ambience and droning synth, pushing in a more restrained, but still drama-laden direction.  Both "Corpus Luteum" and "Lechatelierite" bear the Mamiffer sound more so than the others, being primarily lead by Coloccia's piano and accompanied by noisy, dissonant textures.  Conversely, "Second Burial" feels more Locrian-esque, with abstract fuzz and digital treatments atop slow, lurching drones.

These two artists were a natural fit, given that they both accompany that gray area between drone, metal and post-rock, and both also work extremely well with sparser, understated sounds.  While the opening and closing moments here are bombastic and pummeling at times, between the two lie a lot of hazy, ambiguous spaces that reveal more with each listen.

In an unconventional move in this day and age, Bless Them That Curse You is released on the three major formats, LP, CD and cassette.  While each feature the same music, the presentation differs, from the gatefold deluxe double LP to the deluxe digipak  CD to the oversized boxed tape, complete with stickers and hand-sewn booklet.  Regardless of preferred format, any of them will capture the scope and drama of this work better than any downloadable format, so everyone's covered.

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Last Updated on Monday, 05 March 2012 00:37  


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