The Clearing & The Final Epoch
Locrian are one of those consummately creative bands that take genuine pleasure in their ability to sweetly torture and shock the listener. Combining the fine textures of excellent ambient metal with the stately reserve of European doom and the ability to surprise that only the finest experimental metal can boast, The Clearing & The Final Epoch is truly rare for its aesthetic balance, musical excellent and imaginative scope. Both halves of this double album fit together surprisingly well, considering that the first is a re-release of their acclaimed 2011 effort, The Clearing, and the second is a collection of previously unreleased material. Opener "The Clearing" spends nearly half its length offering subtle embellishments on a single hypnotic pulse before fragmenting into an eerie, broken soundscape pierced by distant screams. What is so consistently wonderful and upsetting about Locrian is their ability to play with texture. The bright electronic wail that begins "On A Calcified Shore" is iridescent and impenetrable as nacre, but gradually, the song begins to flake apart and then melt, by the end devolving into a wet, squishy, enveloping sound, lush and organic. And then there is "Omega Vapours," an 8-bit black metal track that is an absolute revelation. For merciless clarity of vision, The Clearing & The Final Epoch is a rare gift.
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