Locrian / Mamiffer

Bless Them That Curse You

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Chicago's Locrian have been as prolific as they've been adaptable during their decade-long climb out of obscurity; deservedly earning widespread critical acclaim and a respectable cult following as a result of their daring experiments in all manner of intense, post-metallic sounds. No slouches in their own right, post-rock atmospheric astronauts Mamiffer -- comprised of longtime Isis strongman Aaron Turner and pianist Faith Coloccia -- have attained a formidable avant-garde pedigree themselves. So it goes without saying that the two entities' collaboration on 2012's Bless Them That Curse You (which reportedly involved an initial "jam session" followed by months of long-distance file trading and song sculpting) became a highly combustible ceremony of opposites: Locrian's maximum colliding and fusing with Mamiffer's minimum to produce…what? A whole lot of many things is perhaps the best answer, and indeed no song is safe from experiencing unexpected mutations or harboring antithetical sounds in both sublimely harmonious and intentionally disharmonic ways. For starters, there are the title track's transitions from monastic chants over industrial decay, to nakedly mournful piano and guitar, then onto a full-on metal march; there's the cold and dramatic "Corpus Luteum"'s evolution from paranoid piano figure (patterned after The Omen-passage of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells) to haunting guitar strums over howling wind synths; and there's the hulking closing suite's (entitled "Metis/Amaranthine/The Emperor") transformation from atmospheric tenderness to savage sensory overload. On a slightly more linear tack, there is "In Fulminic Blaze," which produces a hive of droning electricity; "Second Burial," which transposes musique concrète to the digital format, and "Lechatelierite," which offers further keyboard ruminations set to what sounds like radio interference. Heck, at its core, and for all its schizophrenic variety, Locrian & Mamiffer's collaboration could be said to muster an unsettling new age for the dark age, and it's ultimately that passion for contrasting sounds and viewpoints that makes this collaboration so powerful and seductive.

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