The marriage of black metal and atmospheric noise is nothing new. The two have been constant companions for quite some time, the volume of the bands employing the combination of genres increasing exponentially as the years move forward. With such a dizzying variety of bands practicing this form of art, mediocrity can and often does become commonplace. Thankfully, when bands start to run together and sound dully similar, it becomes easy to pick out the ones who are true masters of their craft. The ones who are truly innovative and dedicated quickly emerge as the frontrunners of the genre. That’s where Locrian comes in.
Locrian is a relatively new band in the grand scheme of this vein of music, having only existed since 2005; their Relapse debut, which began to really turn heads and establish them as heavyweight contenders, only having come out in 2011. Despite their relatively young age, their compositions belie a seasoned talent and the maturity of a band with years that far exceed theirs. Even before their head-turning Return to Annihilation in 2013, these talented musicians were churning out a prolific amount of noisy, black drone in the form of numerous cassette releases, splits and singles. While Return to Annihilation received a lot of positive attention – and rightfully so –it pales in comparison to the upcoming Infinite Dissolution.
Infinite Dissolution is a far more complete experience than Locrian’s last offering –a similar yet decidedly unique journey that fills in all the holes you didn’t realize were in their last album until listening to this one. The album is a conceptual masterpiece that tells of the painful reality of extinction, and as such the whole album flows seamlessly through like one long song, each song a separate chapter in the novel of the end. The overall tone is one of mournful yet aggressive contemplation. While Return to Annihilation simmered and unsettled, Infinite Dissolution attacks and rends, its message being more violent and urgent than the last. The album builds upon the strong base left by its predecessor – warm, droning synth and expansive black metal riffs entwining together to make deftly composed art in each –but Infinite Dissolution takes a more aggressive tone in its approach. Post rock, shoegazey drones and dark ambient soundscapes return from their previous works, but the guitar performances across this album are somehow at the same time more rhythmic and accessible than on previous releases, yet more experimental. Warm moog synth creates a far more organic noise than many of their contemporaries, and droning feedback produces a base that surprisingly accessible guitar riffs dance over, further punctuated by a more prominent, focused vocal performance than ever before, courtesy of Terence Hannum. Rounded out by a few guest performances and some unconventional instrumentation, the powerful Infinite Dissolution makes itself heard.
With the upcoming Infinite Dissolution, Locrian further strengthens their growing legacy and continues to build upon the foundation that is cementing the trio as one of the most vital, powerful, and talented musical groups in not just the black metal or avant garde scenes, but in music in general. Powerful groups like Locrian who continually push their creative envelope while still drawing on the well established basis of their genres and their own pasts will keep pushing and evolving our conception of music, growing what we already know and crafting new truths for us to learn. Infinite Dissolution is a needed breath of fresh air in the over-saturated market Locrian pedals their art in. Contrary to the message of extinction they expound upon in this album, Locrian is doing just the opposite for their art and for music in general.