Jun 14, 2011
Blackwolfgoat - Dronolith ...
This is the second installment from the band, the first was called 'Dragon Slave Wizard' and going back and listening to that one has shown me that Darryl Shepard has progressed in many areas of composition. This album flows a hell of a lot better than the début but it still a minimalistic, somewhat tedious adventure at times.
While 'Dronolith' has its tedious moments, the constant shifting soundscapes means that its boring sections don't last too long. Album opener 'Building Buildings' is a ever-changing multi-layered, rhythmic track that is based around guitar drones and noises that still have a strong sense of melody and that is something that is a rarity within ambient, drone-doom acts whether it be a one-man band or otherwise. 'Ruane' builds itself around melody lines and harmonies but is one of the moments on the album where I am left wanting a whole lot more and the urge to listen to something else at this point is ever-present. I love drone/ambient music when I can find something interesting in it but this is one of the tracks on the album that fails to keep my attention. It is a pity because some of this album is very hypnotic but 'Ruane' isn't one of those moments.
'Tyche' reminded me of one of those early Celtic Frost interludes or intros, don't ask me why, it is just something I can not get out of my head every time I listen to it. This track is a majestic, monolithic bassy but distorted guitar drone which is great for a minute or two and then gets all too much to stand. I dig distorted guitar intros on albums but turning it into a 4 minute track seems a little like overkill to me. 'Fear of Stars' has some great melody lines buried within the droning doom and gloom; again it seems to drag on a little too long for my tastes but this is one of the better tracks. 'Event Radius' is like 'Tyche' all over again and just like that track heavy the bass-laden drone drags, this is the kind of sound that fits in well with horror and sci-fi movies but on its own, gets tedious very quickly. The best track however is saved for last......
'Dronolith' the title track is a 15 minute monster that is split is two very distinctly different sections of multi-layered sound textures. The first half is based around sinister, threatening and disturbing drones that are totally hypnotic. The tracks second half however is pure chaotic noise centered around a very loose song structure that seems to be totally off-the-cuff. If it was done in one take or not, it doesn't really matter as the important thing is this a beautiful example of how to make droning ambient guitar noise sound enthralling and interesting. So great is the title track that it makes the album worth buying on its own and if the whole album was up to this standard I would be gladly giving it a 10 rating. As it stands at least quarter of this album did nothing for me at all but that doesn't mean I can't recommend it to others, I can see some ambient drone fans going nuts over this. On the strength of the title track and some truly hypnotic passages elsewhere on the album, it deserves every bit of a 7.5/10