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Locrian - End Terrain review

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Band: Locrian
Album: End Terrain
Style: Drone, Noise, Experimental rock
Release date: April 2024

01. Chronoscapes
02. Utopias
03. Umwelt
04. The World Is Gone, There Is No World
05. Excarnate Light
06. Black Prisims Of Our Dead Age
07. Innenwelt
08. In The Throes Of Petrification
09. After Extinction

This is Locrian doing what Locrian do best; just keeping on being Locrian while once more redefining just what Locrian means on the surface, yet never abandoning the roots that make them such a unique band.

There are bands with which you always know what you’re going to get. There are bands that take their time finding their destined style and then sticking to it. There are bands that are constantly switching between a wide variety of genres with little to no connection between the albums. There are bands that constantly evolve and refine their specific style until they possibly release a masterpiece. Then, there are bands like Locrian, who are few and far between, who somehow remain always recognisable by a certain mood, texture, compositional approach, elements in their sound, and what have you, yet consistently manage to surprise you just enough that you never really know what you’re going to get, just that it’s very likely going to be good music.

Okay, so Locrian isn’t exactly the most accessible band out there. Without cheating by looking up what they call their own style these days, I’d say all of their albums could be categorised as some sort of blackened drone metal - however, on their last album, New Catastrophism, they dropped the metal almost entirely and released an album full of patience-ravaging drones and minimalistic crescendos that, I assume, must have divided their already probably rather scattered fanbase by quite a lot. From their beginnings as an electronic/noise borderline-metal project through their more post-rocky mid 2010’s to the last droney album, they have kept their essence intact while always providing something unexpected yet strangely familiar.

Continuing on the themes about pollution, environmentalism, and, well, total annihilation, this year’s End Terrain is no less surprising yet strangely familiar. Already on the opening track “Chronoscapes”, the devout listener will instantly notice a sharp return to the heavier, more metal soundscapes of albums such as Return To Annihilation and Arc Of Extinction. However, there’s certainly some of the ambient, droney vibes from New Catastrophism at play here, making the song much more dishevelled and unpredictable than anything from the formerly mentioned duo of albums from their “post-rock” phase. Yeah, there are riffs, and yeah, there are the trademark drowned screams, and yeah, there are the protruding synth textures that I’ve learned to expect from anything released by Locrian by now, but there’s more. Quite a lot more, in fact.

Particularly, there is a seemingly newfound playfulness with song structures, with motifs appearing but rarely returning on top of a constant, thick pillow of radioactive noise. On “The World Is Gone, There Is No World”, a sudden, throbbing, nearly danceable synth pattern battles with frantic outbursts of noisy tremolos and screaming, but only for a short while towards the middle of the track. The rest is filled with all other kinds of surprises. Then, on “Excarnate Light”, we get a pseudo-ambient, sort of “classic Locrian” (if there is such a thing) track built on an incessant guitar arpeggio - until it escalates into a surprisingly hard-rocky, catchy, truly memorable riffing towards the end. “Utopias” even utilises some shy, nearly awkward, yet somehow fitting clean vocals much of the time, and much to my surprise.

Suffice to say, End Terrain is both a natural evolution and an unpredictable left turn in the discography of Locrian, which is exactly what you’d expect from them, while simultaneously not expecting something quite like this album at all. This is a band that does not write songs as much as they write textures and moods, telling stories through abstract soundscapes and contrasting dirty, analogue instruments with futuristic synthesisers, much like the message they are conveying. However, on many occasions throughout End Terrain, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that Locrian can get really damn catchy when they want to, and while some of these ambiences might not so easily worm its way into your head, the infrequent, sudden, but not entirely rare instances of properly heavy, memorable guitar work will. A good pair of headphones and a walk by a river filled with plastic ought to set the mood perfectly for End Terrain, and if you don’t have one nearby, then the sounds that fill this album certainly will conjure up such imagery in your mind regardless.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written on 05.04.2024 by 100% objective opinions.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 50 users
06.04.2024 - 23:27
Rating: 7
A Nice Guy
I remember not being too impressed by their last effort but this is actually find this one to be pretty decent, it seems to be more experimentally engaging, and some of the sci-fi effects are pretty cool, adds a kinda Krautrock vibe to it similar to Tangerine Dream.

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