Here are two artists I don’t know a lot about. I knew about Heemann from his collaboration with Merzbow and work with Nurse With Wound and the Chicago duo Locrian have made a previous appearance on this site with their Rain of Ashes record. Before listening to this record I kind of knew that Locrian mined a drone metal sort of sound palette. That sort of sound feels very stale to me now. The number of submissions I receive from bands who still play it have not instilled me with a great deal of confidence that there is anyone thinking freshly about metal in a drone context. When this arrived I was in two minds whether I would listen to it but I did and I’m glad I did. This is a truly great record. It is also a pretty difficult sound to pin down. There is a shit load going on on this records four lengthy tracks. The first track Hecatomb is one of my favourite pieces of music mright now. It’s roots are obviously firmly in a drone metal context yet it is the injection of Necks style piano and a feeling of improvised abandon with the guitars which lend the music an open, expansive feel. The second track lifts its skirts to reveal its blackened metal soul whilst the third track Edgeless City is an excursion through ambient drone with a sinister edge that gradually becomes much more oppressive.The final track, The Drowned Forest sees the artists getting their inner druid on for some ritualistic vocal action which become more intense as it progresses. It’s strangely beautiful and overwhelming all at once.
2012 has seen some excellent collaborations and split LP’s. Swanson and Shiflet, Dilloway and Lescalleet, Shiflet and Panzner, Blankenship and Reed have all produced amazing records this year. Add this too the pile. This record has restored my faith in bleak metal.