I wanted to write a few words about the latest Locrian album, Return To Annihilation. Whilst I wont be able to stock the record in The Archipelago Rises, I at least wanted to draw your attention to this masterpiece. If you’ve not heard of Locrian before, and you’d be forgiven (just barely, though) if you hadn’t, they are a metal/noise/drone act out of Chicago and have been plying their trade for the best part of the last decade. A slew of tape, CD and vinyl releases have been ushered unto the world and all have been critically acclaimed; if not publicly consumed. Comprising Andre Foisy and Terence Hannum, Locrian have also hosted a few collaborators along their journey. The last few releases has seen Stephen Hess become a fully-fledged 3rd member of the group, joining Locrian on the The Clearing release and now, Return to Annihilation.
Whilst Locrian may not be so well known, a situation totally un-befitting of the incredible creativity these gents eschew out of every pore, Return To Annihilation should put paid to that. Locrian’s debut release from a huge label (Relapse Records) sees them bringing a much more accessible album to the masses. Deftly crafting elements across the board of ‘metal’ genres, the album ebbs and flows between drone bliss, black metal blackness, post-metal juggernaut and instrumental beauty. Extensive use of Moog enhances the trippy feel but does not overstate its influence; it blends with the guitar and noise work seamlessly. Stephen Hess contributes driving work behind the kit which not only adds another dimension to the Locrian sound, but almost changes it completely. I say almost, because that unmistakable Locrian sound still remains ever-present, its just the added percussion really does enhance the whole. The pieces of sound art have now morphed into ‘songs’, and whilst I personally, have never had a problem consuming Locrian noise-art, this 3rd piece to the puzzle will help enable the uninitiated to dwell in the majik that this record delivers in spades.
If you have a penchant for creative, experimental music, have an open mind to the creative use (and misuse) of all instruments, whether machine based or human, Return to Annihilation is an absolute must-have record. A fully-immersive experience, and one that should be listened to with that ethos in ear.