Locrian – The Crystal World   1 comment

The Crystal World is the third studio album from Locrian and it is a epic journey. Titled after JG Ballard’s 1964 novel that tells the story of a physician who specializes in leprosy and is sent to a remote African outpost. On this monster of a 2 disc-set it features one, almost a hour long track (Extinction) that takes up all of disc two. Sadly for me, this second disc didn’t come along with the promo so I have only disc one to judge this album on, normally this would be a problem but disc one is so strong that it warrants a review anyway (The extinction track is only available on the CD version of the album). On “The Crystal World”, Terence Hannum, and André Foisy, are joined by Steven Hess (On, Pan American, Ural Umbo) on percussion and electronics and maybe that is why this is a thicker, more complex piece of work than 2009’s “Drenched Lands” album. It is dark and a very bleak recording and while the band still indulge in the blackened drone and the ambient sound, its even more of a challenging album to listen to. Its certainly not a album you can easily digest in just one spin as its so complex and unforgiving musically.

The first track sets the tone for the album as “Triumph Of Elimination” is frightening at times with tormented shrieks and a eerie ambiance, the track is made even more atmospheric with the clever use of samples and what sounds like wind-chimes and bells. The minimalistic approach is present as in all droning pieces but the typical droning hum is avoided making this a unique musical intro piece to the rest of “The Crystal World”. The second track “At Nights End” continues where the first track left till you get to the halfway point where it explodes in cinematic dramatic fury. Drums make their first real appearance as the piece heads more into a experimental, psychedelic rock direction. The band keeps the track fresh and moving with cleverly added instrumentation and sounds. The title track follows nicely with a progressive rock element in a modern day King Crimson tradition, there is elements of Jazz Fusion blended with a sorrowful yet very experimental ambient rock style technique. The next track up “Pathogens” drifts along for over 11 minutes and may prove to be the toughest track to get through for most people, there is not as much happening in this track compared to the others but still the varied musical textures still shine especially in the drumming which is some of the most hypnotic drum-work I have heard this year.

The hypnotic vibe of “Pathogens” is soon replaced by the blackened atmosphere of “Obsidian Facades”, this track is truly creepy and haunting but more important is the band’s continued and multi-layered sounds that are captivating. The ending piece is “Elevations And Depths” which pulls out all the stops, it has everything from female voices to tormented shrieks, strings, majestic floating melody lines and exceptionally well delivered drumming that enhances the dramatic nature of the forever building arrangement. The track is stunning and is my pick for the highlight of the album but even the weaker, more tedious sections still are mesmerizing. Fans of ambient music and drone will be swept away with the majestic beauty of “The Crystal World”, this will be a essential purchase for those people but also will be a intriguing album for listeners wanting something a bit more challenging than the usual guitar/bass hum of most other drone releases. This is a beautiful and haunting album all rolled up into the one package, a album to be cherish for years to come. Locrian should be proud of this masterpiece, this demands your attention……9/10
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Posted September 14, 2010 by doommantia in Locrian

One response to “Locrian – The Crystal World

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  1. great review!…even though i haven't heard from this band, you got me interested in listening to them…thanks for sharing!…

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