Rating: 3.7 / 5
Note – this a review for a promo version of the album. The final version includes the second disc (not reviewed here).
Judging by their massive discography, Locrian is a band that never sleeps. Recent years saw them recording countless splits, a track for “Wire Tapper” compilation and, finally, this year they recorded not one, but two full-lengths at once. First, was “Territories” (which came out on Small Doses) and “The Crystal World”, a double CD-set, which saw the band being joined by Steven Hess (Ural Umbo, On).
Named after a J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name, “The Crystal World” is a further evidence of the evolution of the band’s sound – they started out with somewhat simplistic and raw black ambience, and this style was eventually replaced with a complex hybrid of ambient, post rock, metal and drone that sounds little like anything else out there.
There’s a lot of different approaches that the band tries out on the album – there’s a flowing (dark) ambience of “Triumph of Elimination” (mixed with blood-curdling screams) and a nod towards kosmiche musik on the title track. Then there’s “Pathogens”, an instrumental that doesn’t seem to go anywhere and gets progressively duller towards the end.
Thankfully, two tracks that follow “Pathogens” (“Elevations And Depths” / “Obsidian Facades”) are the direct opposite of their predecessor – beautiful and profound, they both complement each other in some way. Former starts out as a an ambient track (complete with screams, making their comeback from the first track) which gradually evolves into a calm post-rock/acoustic number, while latter reverses this formula – its a full-blown acoustic song with some of the electronic elements.
“The Crystal World” seems to be quite different from “Territories” and the prime reason is a combination of live/electronic elements that the band perfected on two final tracks (and that could eventually become their calling card).
And if the other disc contains anything that’s as good as those two tracks, then “The Crystal World” should be a real treat for any ambient/post-rock/(open-minded) metal fan.