Locrian – New Catastrophism (Review)

Locrian - New CatastrophismLocrian are a US experimental drone band and this is their seventh album.

It has been seven long years since 2015’s Infinite Dissolution, but Locrian have finally resurfaced to bring us a tale of apocalyptic decline and environmental decay. New Catastrophism is a different record to its predecessor though. It contains 36 minutes of new material divided into four tracks, and showcases Locrian at their sparsest, yet also their most immersive and atmospheric.

These new songs are experimental soundscapes that take in elements of drone, dark ambient, electronica, post-rock, and post-metal, delivering music that’s weighty with substance and depth. New Catastrophism is the soundtrack to the end of the world. It’s beautiful and haunting, but also tragic and bleak. There is no hope on Locrian’s new album, only despair and despondency.

Each of these songs has a different flavour and personality, but all of them are portentous and affecting. New Catastrophism is a spacious and minimalist work, and Locrian know exactly how to say a lot with only a little. They do provide more than sparse ambience on this album, but they do so sparingly, knowing that the increased impact of such an approach is worth the listener’s wait. Patience is a virtue while Locrian craft their expressive vistas, and as the album unfolds across its playing time, so does the texture of the music.

Mortichnia offers a dark ambient soundscape that threatens to drown the listener in emotive depths. The Glare Is Everywhere and Nowhere Our Shadow is nightmarish and droning, bringing in subtle post-metal elements and a harsher feel, including anguished screams. It’s a harrowing piece that builds to nothing in the best of ways. Incomplete Map of Voids is a work that gradually builds, and finds Locrian’s full atmospheric post-rock power unleashed. The final track Cenotaph to the Final Glacier ends the album with an acoustic-led dirge that’s the album’s mournful zenith.

New Catastrophism is a compelling work of emotive depth and singular apocalyptic expression. Locrian have impressed with their latest work of art.

If you’re a fan of drone, then this is essential.

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