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80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The latest release for the Chicago experimental rock trio is its first on the Relapse label.
  • Record Label: Relapse Records
  • Genre(s): Experimental, Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Dark Ambient, Noise
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jul 15, 2013
    90
    With this release, Locrian have created a gorgeous piece of musical architecture and filled it with unquiet ghosts.
  2. Jul 24, 2013
    80
    This is the rare album that reveals new depth within a catalog that already seemed so deep and ruminative while proclaiming rather unlimited possibilities for a band nearing the end of its first decade.
  3. Jul 15, 2013
    80
    Amid all the feedback and echoes here, there's something wonderfully ominous about Locrain's music. [29 Jun 2013, p.54]
  4. Dec 5, 2013
    80
    Locrian proves itself expert in simultaneously exploiting the warm blanket of beauty and the cold ice water of noise.
  5. 70
    While they still wander adventurously, Locrian’s soundscapes are beginning to resemble fully realized songs with a beginning, middle, and end.
  6. Aug 5, 2013
    70
    The strongest element the band took from its prog forebears for this compact, powerful record is just the sense of the album as a journey, one that feels complete.
  7. Jul 15, 2013
    70
    While it’s certain that catastrophe is written all over Locrian’s high-concept Return to Annihilation, the experience is a step removed from the anxiety of early post-rock: here the listener trudges through the burnt-out husk of a world, its structures transfigured, estranged from their original forms.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 8, 2013
    6
    Locrian since 2005 have been putting out music that is a mixture of drone, noise rock and black metal. I can see all of these sounds on ReturnLocrian since 2005 have been putting out music that is a mixture of drone, noise rock and black metal. I can see all of these sounds on Return to Annihilation but it’s the mixture that for me, sits uneasily. They don’t seem to be able to do the death metal elements as deftly as Deafheaven, nor the drone elements like Sunn O))) but this is because they mix genres together to create the sound of Locrian.

    The album starts of with the shortest track out of seven, “Eternal Return”. It’s a song I actually like because it is condensed and concise. It’s a song that knows where it’s going and gets there fast, unlike the majority of the album which at points feels like watching paint dry. It just feels a bit slow at points, a bit too elongated and the wait is too long for the return.

    The combination of genres doesn’t seem to play in well with the length either. On one hand you have this long drone song, that has a minute of black metal and noise tagged on at the end, and it all feels very loose sort of, the cement in between the bricks hasn’t properly dried. It’s nice to look at, but it will easily fall apart.

    Maybe the stand out track is the title track, “Return to Annihilation”, a surprisingly catchy song due to melodic lead guitar. It’s a song that seems to blend all of the elements that are scattered around the seven tracks into one. It is a solid track that is powerful and tormenting. Synthy drones and dramatic sinister male vocals droning on as if a group of monks where serenading the end of the world blend into fuzzy guitars and pounding drums. Yet I feel that later on “Panorama Mirrors” tries to copy this and fails, I don’t see why they have done that. Album closer “Obsolete Elegies” tries to bring this sound back at the end of the song which just doesn’t work because after a fantastic first half, the second half feels redundant and boring, it can’t capture the goodness.

    Overall Return to Annihilation features some interesting ideas and sounds, but at the end of the day it is an album that can get ahead of itself and become a little repetitive, leaving you in disappointment.
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