Rain of Ashes
Locrian- Rain of Ashes (Basses Frequencies 19, 2009)
Locrian have been busy boys this year, putting out nine new recordings on various formats (!!!), but they decided to save the best for the end of the year. “Rain of Ashes” is a powerful and ominous album which brings together elements of electronic drone, atmospheric black metal, scorching noise and ambient aesthetics to create some masterful dark atmospheres. While the album is comprised of two long tracks, “Rain of Ashes” and “Sehsa Fo Niar”, both tracks are tightly-woven, passing from atmospheric sections to more melodic guitar sections fluidly and with a good ear for building tension and release, which is a trait sorely missed these days. “Rain of Ashes” builds out of snaking Fripp-like guitars meld with electronic pulses and mantra-like keyboards, while “Sehsa Fo Niar” is a noisy mound of backwards loops that slowly unwinds like one of those tea flowers, revealing the same keyboard mantra hiding underneath. I hesitate to use the phrase “Terry Riley-like” to describe these keyboard parts because it seems to be the hip new music critic term to use to describe any hackneyed “drone noise” band these days (New York Times, anyone?), but Locrian actually taps into that otherworldly hypnotic trance state of which Terry is the master. Constantly building, destroying, and evolving, these two epic pieces are the strongest thing I’ve heard from Locrian yet, and I for one am looking forward to hearing more from them in 2010.