Chicago's duo Locrian crafted (Andre Foisy and Terence Hanuum)
ambient-doom metal soundscapes for guitar and noise on
Drenched Lands (Small Doses, 2009), with tracks such as
the gentle droning rumble of Ghost Repeater morphing into a sort of
Barren Temple Obscured By Contaminated Fogs,
and the apocalpyse of Obsolete Elegy In Cast Concrete.
Rain of Ashes (Basses Frequences, 2010) contains
two colossal live jams,
Rain Of Ashes and Sehsa Fo Niar,
that sound like they were inspired by soundtracks of sci-fi horror movies.
Expanded to a trio with Steven Hess on drums, Locrian released
the cassette Falling Towers/ After The Torchlight (Black Horzions, 2010),
Territories (Small Doses, 2010), lethally marked by special guest Mark Solotroff's power electronics,
and the EP The Clearing (Fan Death, 2011), mostly taken up by the 17-minute The Clearing but also containing
Chalk Point, a solemn zombie requiem that sprouts from
a free-form electronic poem, and the
frenzied hell of Augury in an Evaporating Tower.
The highlight of these years was the double-disc The Crystal World (Utech, 2010), a concept album revolving around a 1964 Ballard novel, whose music
evokes a wasteland populated by machines.
Many pieces are simply extreme inventions, especially the two instrumentals:
the minimalist repetition wrapped in grandiose guitar distortion of The Crystal World,
and the flamboyant atonality of Pathogens, from
subdued industrial drone to abstract soundpainting to jarring looped sub-metal pattern and finally to unnerving drumming.
The gothic overtones overflow in Obsidian Facades, that opens with
the screams of victims ripped apart alive and ends in a frenzied orgy of
distortions. They sneak more discreetly into the folkish atmosphere of
Elevations And Depths.
The cinematic aspect of Locrian's art peaks with
how the lugubrious buzz, sparse dissonance and harrowing screams of Triumph Of Elimination segue in the cosmic emptiness of
At Night's End, barely scrached by a periodic Tibetan-like "om" that
rises to become a slow, trance-y Indian funeral.
54-minute instrumental piece Extinction occupies the entire bonus disc
and covers the whole spectrum from gentle ambient drones to cathartic blasts of noise.
The Clearing & The Final Epoch (Relapse, 2012) expands the material
released on the EP The Clearing (Fan Death, 2011).
Return To Annihilation (2013) opens with one of their most melodic
"songs", Eternal Return.
Gretchen Koehler plays the violin in Obsolete Elegies.
Locrian's percussionist Steven Hess and French electronic musician
Sylvain Chauveau formed the duo On that released
Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (Les Disques Du Soleil, 2004 - Type, 2009),
Second Souffle (Brocoli, 2007), produced and remixed by
Something That Has Form And Something That Does Not (Type, 2010),
produced and remixed by Christian Fennesz.
Hess also played in
Chicago's electro-acoustic trio Haptic
with Joseph Clayton Mills and Adam Sonderberg, whose highly technical post-rock
bordering on musique concrete is documented on
The Medium (Flingco Sound System, 2009),
Trebuchet (Entr'acte, 2009) and
Scilens (Fss, 2011).
New Dominions (Relapse, 2011) was a collaboration with Horseback,
notably the 14-minute Our Epitaph.
Bless Them That Curse You (Profound Lore, 2012) was a collaboration
between Locrian and Faith Coloccia's chamber neoclassical ensemble Mamiffer,
whose 19-minute Metis/Amaranthine/The Emperor risks being one of
Locrian's all-time artistic peaks.
Locrian & Christoph Heemann (Handmade Birds, 2012) was a collaboration
with Christoph Heemann of HNAS.
Ural Umbo was the duo of Steven Hess and Reto Mader (RM74) that released:
Vral Vmbo (Utech, 2010),
Fog Tapes (Hinterzimmer, 2010),
Delusion Of Hope (Utech, 2011),
II (Merz Tapes, 2012), that contains the two lengthy jams
Nichts Muss and Alles Kann.
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