Sunday, March 17, 2013

Archon - Ouroboros Collapsing

Review by Justin C.

Artwork by Jacob Hansen

I like music that's on the doomier side of things, but it's a tricky genre in its own way. With so much music out there right now, it's easy to get into the habit of sampling bits and pieces, which favors subgrenres that punch you in the face right out of the gate. How long do you give music that has a slow build when there's so many other things to check out?

I almost missed out on Archon's new one, Ouroboros Collapsing, because of that kind of impatience. The first track, "Worthless," starts with slow, ominous bass, with the other instruments providing more atmosphere than melody. The drums are sparse. Rachel Brown's high, clean vocals and proper guitar don't kick in until almost three minutes in. I found myself thinking, "O.K., this is clearly good, but what will I get from another hour of this? Isn't there something more insane I could be listening to?" That's where I could have made my mistake. Because at five minutes in, we get the first taste of Rachel's beastly growls. One of the first things she rasps is, "You have no concept of value!" Sorry, Rachel. I almost didn't. Archon proceeds to do the neatest of tricks: Making a 15-minute-long song feel expansive without being plodding or tedious. This mix of vocal styles, including Chris Dialogue's own death growls, are a big part of making that happen, but no one in this band is a slouch. Buzzing guitar and bass riffs move at a stately place, slowly changing and evolving.

The band speeds things up for the next track, "Desert Throne." The drums in the intro sound like cluster bombs going off, the guitar is chiming and persistent, and the bass provides a winding, Sabbath-esque bottom end. Rachel alternates between growls, shrieks, and cleans with ease, and Chris provides the worse cop to Rachel's bad cop with his own gutturals.

The mix of doom, sludge, and psychedelia throughout the album's four tracks is immensely appealing, and each song evokes its own mood and feeling. "God's Eye" switches from frantic tempos to stomping sludge, and the album closer is another fascinating, thirteen-minute epic. The reminder for me is to not get too hasty to click to the next thing, or else I could miss gems like these.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 2013, Archon, doom metal, Justin C, sludge metal, stoner metal
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