As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Locrian.
The dark recesses visited by Locrian are all too familiar to those who have grappled with their inner demons with accompaniment by doom metal and industrial acts for the past quarter-century. The dark cloud that looms over Territories, the latest LP from Locrian through Small Doses, finds the group delving into the bottomless abyss of uncertainty.
Album opener “Inverted Ruins” straddles the line of between industrial’s past and doom’s present. The vocals are gnarled and venomous, scratching out their story into the ebon ember melody. The slow and heavy pace is counterpointed by sharp, high-pitched screeching; the clawing of our hapless victim desperately attempting to dig his way out from under the endless layers of dirt in which he is buried. The trip into darkness is one Locrian has taken many times, yet one that will leave listeners deeply affected by the scorched tones in which they are repeatedly baptized.
It’s this fearlessness that drives André Foisy and Terence Hannum’s vision. The combination of white noise, variable static, low-end tunings, and spatial arrangements turn Territories into a viscous mix of tar, oil, and mud that is unwashable. The machine gun guitar of “Procession of Ancestral Brutalism” mimics the frantic scrubs of Lady Macbeth unable to rinse the blood of her evil deeds away; the anguished screams represent her confrontation with her sins; the crashing cymbals the thunder claps of the gods passing their stern judgment upon her. Territories is all these and more. An album as complex and theme-heavy as classic literature and as technologically integrated as human flesh meeting cybernetic parts, Territories captures the malaise of modern living in its onyx-tinted Petri dish. As we swim around, confused by the blackness of our surroundings and confounded with how to clear up our messes, Locrian hovers in the disconnected netherworld capturing every emotion in its medieval ooze to cast us in plaster for ever more.