Locrian Return to Annihilation

LocrianReturn to Annihilation
9
Locrian aren't the only act that use elements of experimental drone, black metal and noise to create their alchemical musical formulae, but they certainly are the only ones to do so this beautifully. While many bands that share this nebulous genre are concerned with the aesthetics of disgust and revulsion, Locrian unabashedly explore the aural possibilities of loveliness, with no shortage of ominousness or even outright violence. Return to Annihilation is their Relapse debut and is unquestionably their finest work to date. It's a grim, echoing soundscape that does an exquisite job exploring loneliness, fear and isolation, the grey ore (or aura) of menace pierced by rich veins of prettiness — golden deposits of melody or plucked strings twinkling like gems. "A Visitation from the Wrath of Heaven" surrounds a merciless, throbbing core with shivering, plaintive bright spots, like snowflakes. The title track is a surging, synth-heavy piece that undulates unexpectedly, keeping the listener off-balance, as though standing on a floor made of living, breathing flesh. The final 15-and-a-half-minute track, "Obsolete Elegies," serves as both a summation and a distillation of Return to Annihilation; it's a huge, haunting edifice of a track that's as sharp and hair-raising as it is unbearably beautiful. With this release, Locrian have created a gorgeous piece of musical architecture and filled it with unquiet ghosts. (Relapse)