Locrian End_terrain

Locrian - End Terrain


Locrian. A name that should ring like thunder in the ears of everyone who loves unconventional, “uncategorizable” music. There are elements of Shoegaze, Synthwave, Noise, Death Metal, Industrial, Post-Punk and loads more to be found on their newest record End Terrain which to many might be their opus magnum, including yours truly.

End Terrain confronts us with expectations as many of us will have a certain attitude going in, when listening to a new Locrian record. Some will love the noisier parts of their oeuvre, others the more Ambient passages and there are surely also many who prefer the trio’s Death Metal elements – and everyone should find something to love on this record! Let’s start with checking out where you can find what: The opener ”Chronoscapes” opens with a lot of verve and ticks many of the Avantgarde Death Metal boxes that the guys have built for themselves over their long career which now spans basically two decades after the band’s inception in 2005. Now the three guys are strewn across several cities in the US, which surely doesn’t make it any easier for them to get their songs together, especially as they are all pretty busy outside Locrian. Nevertheless, they have picked up pace again - End Terrain is their third release within the last two 20 months: in 2022 they released New Catastrophism together with the Ghost Frontiers EP and just a few months ago they gave us their Solar Lodge EP with their version of the Coil song of the same name plus several remixes of their cover.

The third track ”The World is Gone, There is no World” will please the Ambient Locrian lovers because the way that the layer sounds upon sounds and still keep a certain light afloat in the midst of all that before some pumping bass lines turn the track into a Post-Punk festival combined with infernal screams full of despair and anguish. Amazing is also Steven Hess’ drum patterns on this track, because the way he pulsates the track into different directions after its first half is really unique.

After passing the second part of the interlu-duo ”Umwelt” and ”Innenwelt” and arriving at the final two tracks we can surely witness the Post-Punk influences on a track like ”In The Throes of Petrifaction” which also gives a good examples of the Noise parts of the Locrian sound-universe. The last track ”After Extinction” is then a lecture in modern Shoegaze that has a lot to do with both – on the one hand Slowdive or Cocteau Twins in all their dreaminess and on the other hand bands like Paysage d’Hiver or Cicada the Burrower with the amazing Synthwork underneath the track and high pitched screams above it. And here we come to a conclusion that many people might diss me for, but in my opinion many songs here can be summarized under the Dungeon Synth tag. What are the main components of that genre? Black Metal screams over the melodies, (oftentimes sparkling) synth lines below, variable beats and a soundscape that is never complete darkness but also never hopeful sunshine. And one can tell me I am wrong, which I probably am, but to me, many tracks on End Terrain tick many of these boxes.

However, and here we come to two important points: Intentionality and Definability. As I learned from the guys in our interview, there has never been any intention of making a Dungeon Synth record, thus that first element can be put aside. And the second parameter is even harder to check because as should be clear by now: a record and band that has elements of so many different genres, of so many different soundscapes and so many different approaches to songwriting will never be limited to one genre alone. You will always find parts that can be associated with this or with that label – and that’s the fun of it, isn’t it? Why limit yourself that drastically when you can have so much more variability and diversity, so many possible tunings and intonations that you can never use all of them anyway – but hey, let’s try right?

When you are then able to incorporate these aspects into one coherent sound that you have achieved something bigger than the sum of all these parts. Then you, in a certain way, are a genre unto yourself. Locrian surely is. End Terrain is not the end but hopefully the beginning of the next chapter in their voyage into their own sound.