Christoph Heemann / Locrian

Locrian and Christoph Heemann

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The four lengthy tracks that make up the collaboration between Locrian and Christoph Heemann practically aren't enough on this release; though both artists thrive in collaborative and individual contexts, this is enough to make one wish they did this kind of worth together all the time. Heemann's ear for shade, texture and exploratory composition is practically tailormade for Locrian's take on black metal, and from the start of "Hecatomb," with Bartok-like high string parts, dark drones and lush acoustic guitar, the result is a genteel but still gripping way into the pit. As the song shifts into all electronics, everything from cyclical organ squelch to shivering feedback zone to Heemann's piano work steps forward into an intertwined elegance. Similarly, "Loathe the Light" slowly emerges from the murk, big squelching bits that emerge and slip back quickly while distant echoed piano steadily plays amid some sudden screams. The melodic tones of "Edgeless City" set up a barnburner of a conclusion with "The Drowned Forest." The song begins with a certain ominous edge even for this album, feeling like everything beforehand has built up to this moment. Continuing quietly but with a sense of lurking threat, like something's about to give, it continues to ramp up more loudly and doom-laden while the recurrent chime rhythm feels like a slow breath of a vast monster.