Locrian – Return to Annihilation

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Review by Jason Guest

Relapse Records

Locrian’s Return to Annihilation is a sombre piece of work, while heavy and darkly brooding, its soundscapes have as much in common with Brian Eno and the like as they do the purveyors of evil. Atmospheric, ambient, and with a deep sense of absence and alienation, this could easily be the soundtrack to a film depicting a world recently emancipated from the ignorant forces of its inhabitants that sought and secured their own demise (sound familiar?). While cerebral in approach and electronic in sound, there’s a distinct earthiness to the album, a substance darker and deeper than that of most heavy music that’s hammered out of the usual triumvirate of guitar, bass and drums.

With a brief, dark sci-fi-like intro to lure us into extinction, an optimistic melody is countered with tortured vocals and so the atmosphere darkens and the incongruous nature of the album unfurls. From the assiduous pulse of ‘A Visitation From The Wrath Of Heaven’ to the cold, hefty brightness of ‘Exiting The Hall Of Vapour And Light’ and the stark emptiness of the title track, this is an album loaded with many and broad vistas. Equal parts serene and droning as they are menacing and restless, the arrangements follow unpredictable passages, their routes are laced with subtleties and nuances that after more plays reveal seemingly unending depths. Where the dusky drone of ‘Two Moons’ is calmly tumultuous, ‘Panorama of Mirrors’ is its opposite, the scream of the instruments intensifying with every percussive blow. Yet it is the sixteen minute ‘Obsolete Elegies’ where Locrian leave everyone in the dust, any remnant of what once was being gently whispered away in the grey mist of our affable annihilation. Individually, each track has a voice of its own, and taken as a whole, Return to Annihilation is nothing less than remarkable. The end of everything rarely sounded so beautiful.

Locrian - Return to Annihilation8.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Eternal Return
  2. A Visitation From The Wrath Of Heaven
  3. Two Moons
  4. Exiting The Hall Of Vapour And Light
  5. Return To Annihilation
  6. Panorama Of Mirrors
  7. Obsolete Elegies