LocrianA record that earmark’s Locrian’s shift away from their early days of slow, ambient noise and drone, ‘Infinite Dissolution’ is arguably the Chicago/Baltimore trio’s most accessible work to date; not so much a progression or change in sound, but an expansion of it. Their former hybrid of harsh noise textures and walls of distortion have been deconstructed and merged with black metal and post rock and, while none seem to rear their head at the same time, they operate alongside each other, blending seamlessly, each given their own moment to shine.

Locrian’s core message has stayed the same throughout their extensive back catalogue: everything ends. However, this latest release sees the themes of human destruction, death, annihilation and loss of self delivered in a dynamic that is both melodic and beautiful. Harsh electronica, thick psychedelia and momentous reverb wrap themselves around shimmering post rock and wintry black metal soundscapes in order to render haunting atmospheres that will induce goosebumps in those that care to invest.

Terrence Hannum’s vocals tear through the veil of sound, often striking startling resemblances to the likes of Monarch! – another band fond of pairing electronics with screamed, harrowing sounding chorals. While ‘Infinite Dissolution’ is new territory for Locrian, it is expected, as this shift in structure can be traced back to their last release ‘Return to Annihilation’ – which showcased definitive song structures bursting forth from swampy passages of drone, while black metal influences were scattered throughout every song.

Blurring and redefining the territory lines of genre, ‘Infinite Dissolution’ is one of the most cerebral records that a band has offered up this year. Acting not just as musicians, but as artists, Foisy, Hannum and Hess have crafted and sculpted layer upon layer of synths, vocals, guitars and electronics creating a work that is as devastatingly gorgeous and picturesque as it is maddeningly violent and schizophrenic. A must listen for those who enjoy Wolves in the Throne Room, A Storm of Light, Sunn O))) and Monarch!

(8/10 Angela Davey)