Kwaidan ~ Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright

Kwaidan_coverIn a long forgotten ruin, clouds of black voodoo rise ever upwards, until strands of steam seep through to the surface. No one sees the sight, no one sees the red orb of light, because the land above is far from civilization, far from home. Pregnant with the prophecy of phantoms, restless souls splutter out the black ash.

It could once have been the foundation of past industry. Now, somewhere out of the depths, the once-dormant beast rears its head, a clanking, unchained ferocity aiming to reawaken the perceptions of doom and drone, twisted with thorns of scorched metal. The atmosphere of prevailing doom rises like the heart-rate, and the clanging of heavy paws against the locked, wooden door, scarred by centuries of incisions, disturbs and releases an avalanche of soil. Claw-marks serve as a permanent, hostile reminder that something longs to be unleashed. The stable percussion pounds a steady heartbeat in the chest of the temple, rising in slow increments of intensity, setting a rhythmic pace ready for another ritual. Inhaling the smoke would be enough to make you want to vacate the premises.

Kwaidan are the trio shrouded in the mist of the sinful sanctuary, intent on conjuring atmospheres of black magic out of cauldrons of terror. Locrian’s Andre Foisy, Neil Jendon and Mike Weis are in control of the atmosphere, in control of the percussive beast behind the ancient cage. Every last strand of effort has gone into Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright; blood, sweat, and maybe a few tears, are all sacrificed, and the result is a record as authoritative as it is alive. Strings, aided by the blade of distortion, can never be tamed. The driving percussion and the red-eyed synths fall into the melting pot of smoke-heavy sludge along with the electric guitar. Because of this trinity, neither instrument, save for the tightly controlled drumming, is able to fully carve an incisive wound into the music, helping to balance out the overarching sound.

Apprehension flirts with curiosity, and fascination reels in new victims of the sound. As the music progresses, you can’t help but stare into the cavernous abyss. The sprawling “Three Empty Rooms Of Light And Space”, in three movements, sticks to the skin, thick with a cloying atmosphere and dust-covered with claustrophobia. It’s a smoky suite of thrusting power, yet it’s also, alarmingly, quite warm and inviting; you could fall in love with its elegance, as if the true face of the music were cloaked underneath a white wedding dress veiled with soft, white silk, only to reveal an ancient, white skull underneath, smiling back at you when it comes to kissing the new bride.

The use of synths snake their way into the undercurrent of doom-laden drone, slithering into a sickly aura of violent light, a crimson flood left over from the ritual at the temple. Black widow spiders are themselves composers of intricate design, constructing cobwebs that are as silky as a wedding dress, while retaining a wide circle, perfect for prey and perfect for the music to roam free. And yet, the structure is tightly controlled by crossing webs, just as Kwaidan’s percussive heartbeat tames the beast as best it can. Kwaidan’s predecessors-in-sound have built shelters to stay, never at risk of rusting, unlike the past industry of man. Cymbals never cease crashing, settling in the atmosphere like a plague that has no intention of dissipating. At one point, the foggy atmosphere could be rolling down from silent hills, just waiting for Pyramid Head to lumber out of the fog and into the cave.

As the tribal, beating drums send the listener into a trance-like state, you realise that Kwaidan are setting impossible highs. Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright is a beast of drone, hypnotic in its eternity but never, ever reassuring. Don’t breathe in the black clouds; it’s a new, dark poison. (James Catchpole)

Available here

One comment

  1. Pingback: ACL 2013: The Year’s Best Album Covers | a closer listen

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