Ocrilim - Annwn
The realm of noise music is one I am more than a little familiar with, especially in the extreme metal side of things, but I was, previous to hearing "Annwn", totally unfamiliar with Mick Barr. A man of my personal tastes should know better; anyone signed to Ipecac (as Mick is, half of the more well-known act "Orthrelm") is worth checking out. This is his first release under the "Ocrilim" monicker (although it is very similar to past names he's used), and the first with Hydrahead, a suitable label for what Mick is bringing to the table.
What that is, is as simple as it is fiercly technical. The meat of "Annwn" is pure shredding, masturbatory and pretentious, depending highly on black metal buzzsawing and full-on speed. What comes off as far more technical and precise are the arrangements; guitars are tracked over one another into horrifying symphonies that bring to mind both the chaotic nature of some of Merzbow's music and the dark, bleak atmosphere of extreme black metal. The length of the compositions can be heavy to any listener, even one who may love this sort of stuff. Sometimes they drone on, never really diverging from a pre-determined path, for upwards of 10 minutes and longer. While each song has high marks, they also, almost all of them included, offer as many moments where your attention may drift off. It's a big mixed bag of tricks, and my only real complaint is that the tricks are too similar. A+ for dedicating yourself to a project of high caliber, Mick, but I think you're better off doing the band thing (although I haven't heard anything to prove myself right on that one).
Fans of black metal, noise, anything chaotic and very, very fast should check Annwn out. There's little doubt you'll hear anything else quite like it, but for metal fans, there are many moments of familiarity and awe-inspiring runs and leads that will leave you hanging on for the ride.
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