I have made no bones over the years about the fact that I adore Locrian, from their earlier noise infused works to their more progressive later releases, they always seem to be able to summon forth a cacophony of pleasing delights. Now they have the giant that is Relapse Records furthering their endeavours, Locrian have the power to reach a much wider audience and they appear to be relishing this fact. With their latest release Infinite Dissolution – they have produced what is arguably their most ‘accessible’ release to date…I use this term very loosely however as, even though this album follows a more defined path, the experimental heart of Locrian is still intact and beating strong.
Opening epic Arc Of Extinction blazes forth, awash with dissonant guitar and the ever present hum of analogue synth bass flickering around the periphery, builds to a psychedelic wash of black metal with post-rock sensibilities – vocals pushed to the background, forming some of the overall sonic tapestry. Their intentions are well set out here, keeping all their trademark sensibilities intact, yet they are more honed and precise. Instead of focusing more towards the beard stroking avant fetishists, the track soars with a majesty devoid of clichés and complacency, a truly stunning opener and a great statement of intent. The next few tracks keep pushing things forward, delving more into post-rock territory with more than just a hint of, dare I say it, folk influence.
The ending of KXL I bleeds into a whitewash of harsh noise, heralding in the aptly named The Future Of Death – once the noise wall has collapsed and dispersed, the melancholic drones and ambience seep through before ploughing headlong into a fearsome onslaught of stunning synth work and uplifting guitar all painted against a morose background of loss and grandeur, beauty and confusion…a simply stunning (albeit short) track. An Index Of Air harks back to their earlier material, playing more on the dissociative elements of drone and noise, lingering notes building around the tortured lead vocals, before rumbling through some really evocative and emotional black metal work.
The Great Dying plays with the more psychedelic elements of Locrian, feeding more heavy drones with distant, gentle whisperings, scrapes and feedback, ebbing and flowing gracefully before the drums kick in, repetitive and harking back to some kind of krautrock influence. Hypnotic and very satisfying indeed. The last two tracks hark back to familiar Locrian territory, layered noise and drones with spacial synth elements, harrowing tortured vocals and the ever present feeling of loss and despair…as KXL III whirs to an end, you feel both elated and exhausted from the musical journey that Locrian so expertly take you on. Essential listening!
Scribed by: Todd Robinson