B!157 Locrian "Territories" CD
BloodLust! and Small Doses are pleased to announce their co-release of "Territories," the second studio full-length from Locrian. The album was recorded in January 2009, at Phantom Manor Studios in Chicago, IL, and it features a group of collaborators including Blake Judd (Nachtmystium, Twilight), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), Andrew Scherer (Velnias), and Mark Solotroff (Anatomy of Habit, BLOODYMINDED). André Foisy and Terence Hannum have spent the last several years honing the Locrian sound and they have taken elements from noise, power-electronics, drone, and black metal to come up with a truly unique approach that reflects the sprawling urban decay that surrounds them in Chicago. After nearly two dozen releases, they have found themselves in the world of "Territories." For this release, Locrian has pulled out all of the stops and they have fleshed out the band with the help of Mark Solotroff on vocals and synthesizer, Blake Judd on guitar, Bruce Lamont on saxophone and vocals, and Andrew Scherer on drums. The results of this massive collaborative effort are apparent from the moment that the album starts. The textures run darker and deeper; the vocals -- sometimes three layers deep -- seem to be conjured from the decrepit muck of a failed civilization; the feedback takes on a more pronounced presence; and the augmented line-up allows for full-on black metal assaults that burst out of the tortured drones that Locrian have come to be known for. Truly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, "Territories" may well be the most fully realized form of Locrian’s dystopian vision. As with their previous album, "Drenched Lands" (2009, At War With False Noise and Small Doses - CD; BloodLust! - LP), "Territories" was skillfully mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service, and the sound could not be more monumental. The limited edition LP version of "Territories," released in March 2010, garnered extremely strong critical attention (see selected reviews below) and we expect to reach even more ears and eyes with this new, handsome six-panel digipak compact disc edition.
1. "Inverted Ruins"
2. "Between Barrows"
3. "Procession of Ancestral Brutalism"
4. "Ring Road"
5. "Antediluvian Territory"
6. "The Columnless Arcade"
From: Animal Psi
And then they were a band. With huge contributions by Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), and Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), the pair of Foisy and Hannum are joined by drummer Andrew Scherer for three of the six tracks to fully realize the metal fetish which informs their distinct brutalism. Assembled by four labels, ‘Territories’ is not only a high watermark for Locrian but a remarkable good-faith gesture by several of the scene’s most vital patron-labels. Akin to the darkest of Coil’s private press, “Inverted Ruins” begins the disc with a single blade of head-splitting feedback quickly offset by a watery melody of synthesizer strain - the maneuver then reversed, reciprocated, cauterized into arbitrary chunks by a Whitehouse laser – and tattered, immediate percussion, all while Solotroff adds a wonderfully-dissembled John Balance sermon (lyrics included in the liner notes). Lamont’s saxophone smoothes out with sustained tones and murmuring strings in the cold-ass passage “Between Barrows”, a magnificent deception leading into the twin central peaks of “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism” and “Ring Road”: the former a deteriorating black metal of sheet-metal crash and howling vocals ala Wolves in the Throne Room, sooty with tape effects, its ten minutes are matched by the latter, a busy erasure of heat-swollen synth sequences and distorted guitar phased in trick wall of sound texture. Clean lines of guitar noir form the disc’s second interlude like a test track leading into the crackling transmissions which begin “The Columnless Arcade”, accumulating layers of noisy curtain which part midtrack to expose, like a secret less shameful than indulgent, a belligerent prog-metal of pull-offs, sustains, and woven notes - Hannum’s shredded vocals like a wraith beneath the glassy finish of whole tones of Locrian guitar and synthesizer which finally reveal themselves in full. It’s exceedingly rare to anticipate an album exploding onto the scene without some jaded sense of fluke connections or passing fancies but only by an essential power and brilliance which cannot be confused. ‘Territories’ is one of those moments, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving outfit. And if this isn’t the moment which does it for Locrian, I’m probably not alone in feeling relief that they’ll be ours for a little longer. On black vinyl, limited to 500 copies. Highest recommendation.
From: Anti-Gravity Bunny
Where the fuck do you start with a record like this? I guess the first thing I should mention (in case you didn't notice) is that Territories is too much of a monolithic beast to be contained by individual labels or continents. It took FOUR labels to put this thing out. That right there should clue you in as to how fucking massive this record is. Then there's the fact that this isn't just André & Terrence playing, like most Locrian releases. Nope, they've recruited, like, every awesome metal dude around. Mark Solotroff (of Bloodyminded) on vocals and synths, Blake Judd (of Nachtmystium) on guitar, Bruce Lamont (of Yakuza) on sax and vocals, and Andrew Scherer (of Velnias) on drums. DUDES. We get it. You're trying to make to most badass record ever. No need to go overboard (just kidding, always go overboard please). What Locrian usually go for is black. You know, black metal, blackened ambience, black doom, black noise, all the black one record can handle. But combine their entire discography's blackness and you still can't muster even a half hearted fight against the epic black hole that Territories. This record is fucking incredible. It opens with a super textured lurching hunchback of a song, with piercing squelches of feedback over a gurgling swamp of vocals and noise. The next song chills out a bit with some not-too-scary low end drone played by a mourning sax and commiserating synths, accentuated by spurts of crashing cymbals. But the third song is where they fucking kick it into gear. All out black metal fury that totally fucking annihilates in the most gorgeous way possible. I don't think I've heard them delve this far into the BM yet, and it's so. fucking. good. It's not especially fucked or twisted that way I normally like my black metal, but it's not too straightforward either. They balance the blast beats and wall of buzz with droning static and plodding thunder in a way that makes me think "Why don't they always do this? It's unbelievable." But then I listen to the rest of the record and remember why. Territories finishes with 3 more songs that really get into some true terror, blackened rumbling, traipsing thrumming, soaring static, and more of that torturous feedback. Clouds roll in and shit gets dark, heavy, and scary as fuck. Helicopters flying in launching tear gas rockets to stop the rioting masses, decrepit malfunctioning machines topple, rusted tetanus infections, doomsday alarms, the demise of our society. And it all culminates with a black metal march of triumph over the decay, proof that even in the Future American Dystopia, no matter how debased and degenerated we have become, it's still going to be fucking beautiful.
From: Aquarius Records:
With every single release these guys get better and better, their sound, a constantly evolving, ultra dense blend of abstract black metal and deep ambient dronemusic, the early records were more about energy and vibe than execution, still eminently listenable, heavy and atmospheric, black and brutal, but their skills as composers and arranges have definitely made leaps and bounds, arriving finally at Territories, the latest sprawling epic from this Chicago duo, here, aided and abetted by a whole bunch of guests, including Blake Judd from Nachtmystium, Andrew Scherer, drummer for black metallers Velnias, and Mark Solotroff, power electronics maestro, and man behind Bloody Minded and the BloodLust! label. And the guests make their presence felt right away, on opener inverted ruins, a smoldering doomic plod, more power electronics than black metal, with Solotroff ranting over a sea of swirling buzz and skree, glitched out electronics, and some simple stripped down drumming. Over the course of the track, it begins to coalesce into a more ominous creep, shedding noise as it goes, before finally slipping into a deep shimmering drone, which introduces the next track, a lush, slow building cinematic dronescape, constantly shifting layers, drifting through clouds of cymbal shimmer and blackened buzzing strings. It's not until nearly the end of side one that black metal rears it's ugly head, a flurry of manic riffing, and they're off, a pounding midtempo blast of raw feral blackness, insane shrieked vocals, chaotic drums, muted riffs, all blurred into a blackened haze, lo-fi and muddy, but also epic and intense. The flipside opens with another bout of power electronics, dueling synths unfurl undulating layers of wheeze and warble and buzz, laced with shimmering overtones and fragmented melodies, a churning black sonic sea, that eventually fades out leaving, a smoldering stretch of shadowy guitar, of blissed out ambience, a short stretch of crystalline chiming guitars laid over a warm whir, shoegazey and blissed out, which finally leads into the closing track, the weirdest of the bunch, with organ and saxophone, acoustic guitars, and pretty much all the gusts present and accounted for, a bleak buzzing driftscape, sort of post industrial, keening melodies over fractured buzz, and deep rumbles, creaks and skree and groaning low end, finally explode into full on melodic black metal, martial drumming, epic riffing, more tortured vokills, cool tangled woozy minor key melodies, a swirling druggy ambience, weirdly catchy and otherworldly, but still heavy and psychedelic, maybe our favorite track, and the perfect way to wind down this serpentine blackened outsider drone metal journey...
From: Bad Year Media
FUCK... BEFORE I SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE LP I HAVE TO SAY THAT LISTENING TO THESE SONGS PAINTS THE SAME PICTURE AS READING THE CORMAC MCCARTHY BOOK THE ROAD. AN ASHEN DEAD WORLD THAT HAS BEEN BURNED TO THE GROUND WHERE NOTHING LIVES. TERRITORIES IS EQUAL PARTS DRONE, BLACK METAL, DEVASTATING FEEDBACK, INCORPORATING MORE DRUMS, VOCALS. THESE...SONGS ARE INCREDIBLE. DIFFERENT FROM DRENCHED LANDS IN A GOOD WAY. IN A WAY THERE IS MORE TO THE TRACKS, MORE LAYERS THAT SEEM TO COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER.
Showing a continued intent to develop and reinvent themselves, Locrian augment their duo lineup with various key guests from Chicago’s metal, experimental, and experimental/metal scenes. The result is as solid and satisfying as all of Locrian’s releases have been, but given several fresh twists, which we hear right off the bat on “Inverted Ruins,” featuring Mark Solotroff of Bloodyminded doing a killer job singing bleak lyrics and Andrew Scherer of Velnias playing kit drums, I believe a first for Locrian. Other temporary members include Bruce Lamont of Yakuza on vocals and saxophone, and perhaps most notably Blake Judd of Nachtmystium on guitars and vocals. All four of these ringers appear throughout the album, in different combinations, but not on every track… though only one track (”Antediluvian Territory”) is by the original Locrian duo lineup, there is also only one track (”Procession of Ancestral Brutalism”) that features all six musicians. Not surprisingly, it explodes out of the middle of the album as the most raging and traditionally black metal sounding track on here, though I might prefer the nearly 10-minute Solotroff/Locrian trio cut “Ring Road.”
Looking back, it has only been a bit over a year since the Greyfield Shrines LP, my first exposure to these guys, yet in that year I’ve heard as significant amount of development and change in their work. While that release was reminiscent of the intentionally minimalist drone of Sunn O))), subsequent work has brought in greater elements of noise, electronic music, and post-punk alternative. This LP is perhaps the ultimate culmination of that, being released by no less than four labels and featuring guest appearances from members of Bloodyminded, Nachtmystium, Yakuza, and Velnias. The change and evolution of their sound is immediate once "Inverted Ruins" launches. The carefully controlled feedback of Andre Foisy’s bass guitar and the simple echoed stabs of Terence Hannum’s synths could be on any of their releases, but the addition of live drums from Velnias member Andrew Scherer and the distant, disgusted vocals of Bloodyminded’s Mark Solotroff push the sound closer towards rock territory, while synthesizer drones and digital noise pull it in the opposite direction. The song slogs along at the pace of stoner rock, but there’s far more noise experimentation going on for it to drift into caveman riff-heavy Sabbath territory. The long "Procession of Ancestral Brutalism" embraces the squall of black metal, but with a distinct sound and structure that contradicts the genre’s infatuation with muffled flatulent production and cookie monster vocals. Aided by Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd on vocals and guitar, it’s not surprising that it conjures images of black metal, but the complex layering of guitars over Hannum’s almost prog-rock synth lines and Scherer’s freak out drumming, all with a cavalcade of vocal parts sounding like Mayhem and Can battling it out with neither side dominating the other. The closing "The Columnless Arcade" features the same line-up, with the addition of Yakuza’s Bruce Lamont on saxophone. The screamed tortured vocals and rapid staccato guitar also give a metallic sheen to the proceedings, but there is a greater aridness to the track, a bit more light let in. Shades of the post-punk guitar sound that appeared on the recent 7" split with Harpoon are here as well, giving a purer tone and color than other artists are usually able to muster. Between these longer pieces linger a few shorter, more sparse instrumental bits that are no less captivating. The sustained organ and insect saxophone of "Between Barrows" have a meditative quality that fits well between the louder, more boisterous tracks. Similarly, "Antediluvian Territory," which sits as the penultimate track, is a sparse duet of organ and guitar, which soars and rings on with a melancholy beauty that calls to mind, at least in mood, some of the best moments of the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds for some reason. This time last year I thought these guys were doing something different in the field of drone metal, which has continued to be an overly cluttered genre, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that difference was. While I have been concerned at their prolificness over the past year, their output has never been superfluous or unnecessary. Territories stands as the full realization of the tapes, EPs, and split 7" singles that the band has issued in this time, perfectly encapsulating their dark, dystopian sound with the ideal balance of pure heaviness and pensive drone. Topping this one will be tough, but I’m thinking they will be able to do it in time.
Locrian's previous album Drenched Lands was an impressive combination of guitar and keyboard improvisations carrying elements of drone, noise and pitch-black industrial ambience together with a slight nod towards black metal. With Territories the core duo Andre Foisy and Terence Hannum further develop their blackened atmospherics aided by an expanded line-up, featuring fellow Chicago based musicians including Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded and proprietor of BloodLust! label), Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Andrew Scherer (Velnias). Right from the off you're surrounded by the controlled feedback squeals and electronic pulses of 'Inverted Ruins'. It carries over the Locrian sound of Drenched Lands but the presence of the collaborators is obvious; in the distant holler of Solotroff and the simple rock styled drum pounding from Andrew Scherer. The doom pace is filled with stuttering synthesiser howls and industrial ambience ebbing out on pulselike throbs. The static buzz drone of 'Between Barrows', punctuated by short bursts of crashing cymbal rolls, is accompanied by some restrained sax blurt and further on it picks up some sustained tense organ drone. Drenched Lands featured some stark and skeletal guitar work and that makes a welcome reappearance on 'Antediluvian Territory', the only track restricted to the core duo of Andre Foisy and Terence Hannum. Here spiralling shards of guitar are played off against ominous organ drone. It is wonderful stuff and way too brief. It's an approach I hope they pursue on future releases. And while there's elements of noise throughout Territories there's a definite power electronics feel to the opening minutes of 'Ring Road' with Solotroff's haranguing holler over wavering shrill feedback and monstrous low-end roar. It doesn't stay too long in power electronics mode as it gradually leads into dense churning electronics, with some guitar improvisation and crackling textures. One of the pivotal tracks of Territories, 'Procession of Ancestral Brutalism' starts quietly with feint feedback squeals and industrial ambience before upping the stakes with scorching black metal riffing, powerhouse drumming and screamed black hole aggro vocals spat out by Solotroff, Judd, Lamont and Hannum. 'Procession of Ancestral Brutalism' is inspired and dynamic like black metal filtered through the noise-rock of Zeni Geva or something. It may be black metal but with Locrian it is direct and resolutely shorn of the ideology or cliché. I guess much will be written about the black metal influenced tracks on Territories but the focus of Locrian remains very much on improvisation. If it's black metal you're seeking then I'm afraid you're gonna have to wade through a lot of black atmospherics to get there. Just listen to the shared guitar improvisations that comprise the opening minutes of 'The Columnless Arcade' before it cuts to the surging metal riffing, martial snare drum rolls and distant tortured screamed vocals. As ever it doesn't wallow too long in one place as Locrian cast their net wide trawling through wigged out terrain casting off elements of black metal with post-rock tunings into dense psychedelic murk. Given the amount of collaborators here Locrian never lose their identity; their sound is never engulfed by the collaborators. Territories is very much a Locrian record. All the hallmarks of their sound, as evidenced on their previous Drenched Lands release, can be found here. This time though with the aid of the collaborators they've been able to further explore areas only tentatively pursued before. Anyone interested in drone/doom sonics and noise/power electronics would be foolish to miss this as Territories is something of an avant metal drone fest. It's also a blast. As prolific as they are Locrian are running on a very low shit quotient and I'm already looking forward to wherever they go next. Great stuff. Released via the labels At War With False Noise, Basses Frequences, Bloodlust! And Small Doses on vinyl in an edition of 500 copies in and now on CD.
From: Electric Voice Phenomenon
The dark recesses visited by Locrian are all too familiar to those who have grappled with their inner demons with accompaniment by doom metal and industrial acts for the past quarter-century. The dark cloud that looms over Territories, the latest LP from Locrian, finds the group delving into the bottomless abyss of uncertainty. Album opener “Inverted Ruins” straddles the line of between industrial’s past and doom’s present. The vocals are gnarled and venomous, scratching out their story into the ebon ember melody. The slow and heavy pace is counterpointed by sharp, high-pitched screeching; the clawing of our hapless victim desperately attempting to dig his way out from under the endless layers of dirt in which he is buried. The trip into darkness is one Locrian has taken many times, yet one that will leave listeners deeply affected by the scorched tones in which they are repeatedly baptized. It’s this fearlessness that drives André Foisy and Terence Hannum’s vision. The combination of white noise, variable static, low-end tunings, and spatial arrangements turn Territories into a viscous mix of tar, oil, and mud that is unwashable. The machine gun guitar of “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism” mimics the frantic scrubs of Lady Macbeth unable to rinse the blood of her evil deeds away; the anguished screams represent her confrontation with her sins; the crashing cymbals the thunder claps of the gods passing their stern judgment upon her. Territories is all these and more. An album as complex and theme-heavy as classic literature and as technologically integrated as human flesh meeting cybernetic parts, Territories captures the malaise of modern living in its onyx-tinted Petri dish. As we swim around, confused by the blackness of our surroundings and confounded with how to clear up our messes, Locrian hovers in the disconnected netherworld capturing every emotion in its medieval ooze to cast us in plaster for ever more.
From: Evening of Light
Locrian‘s discography keeps growing at a steady pace, and with releases like this year’s Territories filling up the ranks, that is nothing to be ashamed of. The solid base of tearing guitars, drones, subtle synths and screeching noise is still here, but this time around, Andre Foisy and Terrence Hannum are joined by a variety of guest musicians, adding drums and other elements into the dystopian music. “Inverted Ruins” starts off slow, with plodding drums and ear-piercing high frequencies accompanying slowly descending chords and raw, dirty vocals. “Between Barrows” is a subtle layered ambient piece with organs and cymbal swells. The A-side closes with a short noisy guitar soundscape that morphs into a raw black metal track, opening new vistas for the band. The second half of the album has a similar curve, with “Ring Road” and “Antediluvian Territory” exploring melodies and drones, and the excellent final track, bringing more black metal after an otherworldly dual-guitar intro, and ending with some great melodic guitar leads over slower drums. This Territories LP is yet another example of the fascinating music of Locrian. It’s not quite metal, not quite ambient, but something in its own right: urban, industrial, raw, visionary, and dystopian. Genre-crossing music for the 21st century.
From: KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle
As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Locrian. The dark recesses visited by Locrian are all too familiar to those who have grappled with their inner demons with accompaniment by doom metal and industrial acts for the past quarter-century. The dark cloud that looms over Territories, the latest LP from Locrian through Small Doses, finds the group delving into the bottomless abyss of uncertainty. Album opener “Inverted Ruins” straddles the line of between industrial’s past and doom’s present. The vocals are gnarled and venomous, scratching out their story into the ebon ember melody. The slow and heavy pace is counterpointed by sharp, high-pitched screeching; the clawing of our hapless victim desperately attempting to dig his way out from under the endless layers of dirt in which he is buried. The trip into darkness is one Locrian has taken many times, yet one that will leave listeners deeply affected by the scorched tones in which they are repeatedly baptized. It’s this fearlessness that drives André Foisy and Terence Hannum’s vision. The combination of white noise, variable static, low-end tunings, and spatial arrangements turn Territories into a viscous mix of tar, oil, and mud that is unwashable. The machine gun guitar of “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism” mimics the frantic scrubs of Lady Macbeth unable to rinse the blood of her evil deeds away; the anguished screams represent her confrontation with her sins; the crashing cymbals the thunder claps of the gods passing their stern judgment upon her. Territories is all these and more. An album as complex and theme-heavy as classic literature and as technologically integrated as human flesh meeting cybernetic parts, Territories captures the malaise of modern living in its onyx-tinted Petri dish. As we swim around, confused by the blackness of our surroundings and confounded with how to clear up our messes, Locrian hovers in the disconnected netherworld capturing every emotion in its medieval ooze to cast us in plaster for ever more.
From: OMG Vinyl
The second vinyl album of forward-thinking metal from the peerless Locrian. It’s hard to attach a sub-genre to these guys, they incorporate a wide range of influences into a very cohesive whole, but that whole is definitely grey, oppressive and depressing (that’s a good thing if you like this kind of music). Totally nihilistic music made my two very nice gentlemen, Territories also includes contributions from members of Nachtmystium and Yakuza, among others.
From: The One True Dead Angel
Here we have an album so immense, so blackened, and so heavy that it required four separate labels to lift it off the ground and cram it down your throat. Part of what makes this one so heavy is the additional firepower they bring to the game -- their diabolical fusion of noise, drone, and black metal is augmented by additional sonic death courtesy of guests Andrew Scherer (Velnias) on drums, Blake Judd (Nachtmystium) on guitar, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) on sax and vocals, and Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded, Anatomy of Habit) on electronics and guitar. With the duo of Locrian backed by a full band, the result is a sound that's louder, thicker, and goes off in more directions than ever before. The opening track, "Inverted Ruins," makes this clear from the beginning, with plodding drums, bowel-scraping noise, and a serious commitment to skin-crawling dissonance. "Between Barrows" opens with an ominous cyclotron drone that could have been lifted from one of their earlier albums, but soon it is overlaid with eerie cymbal washes straight out of the Book of Khanate and more power-electronics hum, and as the piece progresses, the drone and crackling noise are embellished by dark ambient washes and eerie feedback drones, all playing out in languid but anguished fashion, like an unsettling prelude to violence. That violence finally arrives in "Procession of Ancestral Brutalism," where -- after an uneasy introduction of vaguely atmospheric ambient noise -- a buzzing guitar, pounding drums, and pained howling swaddled in mountains of reverb usher the album firmly into pure, antagonistic black metal territory. "Ring Road" returns to the more familiar pleasures of grinding, near-industrial tones and screech-laden power electronics, a deliberately grating sound that evolves into a dark, throbbing drone made even more threatening by the alienated noises that rise and fall in the background; the song eventually dissolves into a swirl of static and devolved black metal guitar wailing, like a lost soul disappearing down a rabbit hole. "Antediluvian Territory" is not quite so sinister but every bit as eerie, with a plinking guitar figure creeping across a burnt ambient soundscape of fogged-out noise and cryptic tonal dread, while "The Columnless Arcade" ends the album with an orgy of noise fed through enormous amounts of delay and echo as huge, shuddering drone action threatens to topple the entire sonic architecture into a cold, poisoned ocean... and then the pounding drums, treble-heavy black metal guitar, and hellish vocals burst forth without warning and the sonic destruction REALLY begins. What a way to end a completely filler-free album. Heavy, heavy stuff, o my brothers and sisters, heavy stuff indeed. If you haven't been smart enough to worship Locrian yet, you really should pick this up and get with the program.
This is the point where Locrian's train picks up a shitload of devotees - the record that takes what's gone before and vaults it. The atoms of ambient, noise/drone, power electronics and black metal have been split and reconfigured in these six tracks. On Territories, the core of Andre Foisey and Terence Hannum may well be collaborating with other players, but this still feels like a truly Locrian record. Again they've scratched out a view of the world that's negative/dystopian/ugly, but infused the music with a metallic, detached sheen. Territories isn't a polished production by any stretch, but there are clean lines of Gristilised thought in amongst the jarring synths and gobbets of noise. With a handful of collaborators on drums, saxophone, guitars and vocals, it's Bloodyminded's Mark Solotroff who sounds most integral to Territories. His vocals are in turn brutal, lost, ugly and completely vital. An absolutely flooring album in an age where such things matter less and less. - Scott McKeating
Locrian’s Territories ends with the torrentially uplifting “The Columnless Arcade.” The Chicago duo of André Foisy and Terence Hannum still create plenty of dark, crumbling, murky washes and spacious Prurient-on-Loren Mazzacane Connors noisescapes, but since their last collection Drenched Lands (and a handful of shorter 2009 releases), they’ve added a rock layer to the bleak ambiance. The assistance comes via a well-curated cast of Chicago-area metal/extreme music regulars: On the aforementioned closer and 11-minute mid-collection epic “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism,” the guys are joined by Nachtmystium’s Black Judd on guitars (plus vocals on “Procession”), Yakuza’s Bruce Lamont on saxophone, and Velnias‘ Andrew Scherer on drums. (Elsewhere, Bloodyminded’s Mark Solotroff shreds his vocal cords and affixes dense synth drone.) Last July I booked Locrian on an intentionally weirdo bill with three different kinds of grindcore groups (Anal Cunt, Fuck The Facts, and Compremesis) and a more straightforward progressive Opeth-style crew (Gwynbleidd). At time the time, Foisy and Hannum’s electric, spacious sheets of synthesized/looped noise and dense smoke machines created a gorgeous, religious-seeming swerve from the rest of the bill. A year later they’d still be the odd-men out, but they’d also be creating blackened anthems that’d give just about anyone a run for their blast beats. You get a bit of both worlds in “The Columnless Arcade.” Territories is out now on LP via At War with False Noise, Basses Frequences, Bloodlust!, and Small Doses. (It takes a nation.) It’ll be out on CD in August. More details on that soon. In the meantime, make room on your year-end lists.
Eventually, it all comes back to noise. Every peak, every height, every genre inevitably gets broken down and reduced to its most primitive and minimalist essence, allowed to start anew, begin again, rise from the ashes… whatever. Proven time and time again, it’s the noise factor that allows for creative growth, its foundation suitable to build something cohesive. It makes sense, once you consider this, that the first decipherable statement to screech from the analog slump of “Inverted Ruins,” introductory track from ambient metal duo, Locrian, is “Tradition has failed.” Although more of an indictment of conventional wisdom, or the human tendency to allow habit to automatically dictate behavior, it’s also reason enough to create something unusual. Obviously. As constructors of their own brand of Avant noise metal, Locrian members André Foisy and Terence Hannum spend a lot of time fashioning aural dwellings, the amps kicking out less a form of music than a form of abstraction. Last year’s Drenched Lands was essentially a cassette playing back some nightmarish creations, bookended by six-string sorrow. Their new album, Territories, brings more music to the creepscape, “Inverted Ruins” a slow and steady blender of industrial squeal, garage percussion and synthesizer. The swelling science fiction tone of “Between Barrows” leads into “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism,” which is probably the album’s most straightforward moment. Guitars blaze, drums shatter, screams are buried under the weight of static and other obscuring noise pollutant. Stormy avalanches, industrial catastrophe, perpetual pulsations… “Ring Road” essentially breathes as guitars grind their way through the sonic murk, a hissing valve the suitable backdrop for loose guitar play in “Antediluvian Territory.” With “The Columnless Arcade,” Locrian generate a four-minute chorus line of machined drone before turning to their instruments for the song’s remaining length. Screams are cold and far off, the music itself surprisingly passionate. Melody gets some attention, Territories an attempt at building more out of Locrian’s dark expanses while not completely abandoning that part of their persona.
Even more satisfying is the newer Territories, a Locrian big band affair that features members of Bloodyminded, Nachtmystium, Velnias and Yoakuza along with the core of Andre Foisy and Terrance Hannum. As a result things definitely get opened up in terms of dynamics and diversity. "Inverted Ruins" offers a lurching funeral march of murky electronics and feedback beneath vocal howls that grow more intense and pissed off with each cycle across its 8 plus minutes. "Procession of Ancestral Brutalism," with Blake Judd on guitar and vocals, is a straight up black metal howler the likes of which his own band (Nachtmystium) has never conjured before -- atonal, screeching, howling at the bottomless black void metal -- designed to make your head explode before your soul crumbles into a ball of ash. How fun! Combine this with the more spectral hypnotic vibe of earlier Locrian disks, and you have something that's hard to ignore in the experimental drone metal realm. Territories comes in an edition of 500 on black vinyl, so don't dilly dally, you doom fixated dregs.
From: Yellow Green Red
If it takes four record labels to put out one album, so be it, so long as it’s as nicely produced as Locrian’s Territories. Continuing in the spirit of cooperation, this one features a number of guest players, including none other than BLOODYMINDED’s Mark Solotroff on vocals and synthesizer, the type of collaboration any Chicago-based freak would envy. Speaking of synths, Territories has a lot of them, practically dominating the landscape where metallic guitars once reigned. There are still some fierce black metal guitar riffs here, which make for a nice balance, but my money’s on the synth-drone mood pieces; there might be just a little too much china cymbal for my tastes on the thrashing metal tracks. Their metalwork here is better than I am recalling, it’s just that when a track is credited to Solotroff’s synth and vocals, a bass guitar and another synthesizer, how can anything top that?