Ocrilim CD review by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Ocrilim CD review by Luc Rodgers
Apr 8, 2008, 04:51

Ocrilim - Annwn


Instrumental metal has taken many forms. There is the Neur-Isis school of texture, the many sub-subgenres of black metal (sometimes sub-sub-ing to the extent of sounding like another thing entirely), the epic, power metal songs beckoning the beats and heroes from their respective lairs, and countless others, all demanding your attention and devotion to their life philosophies. With Mick Barr, aka Ocrilim, there is no philosophy, no predetermined formula, and, most importantly, no other contemporary artist doing exactly what he does. This symphony of guitar is, simply, something to behold.

Each track (aptly titled “Part 1,” “Part 2,” et al.) combines its own spirit with its surroundings making it singular but essential in its overall tone. As it swells, a pause seems inevitable and needed, and it happens, though short-lived. Living and breathing in its own world, Annwn is something to be listened to in its entirety, however difficult that may be. Not that it is unpleasant—quite the contrary, in fact. This organism demands thought and attention; a concentration is needed first and foremost. As the hundreds of thousands of notes circle round each track becomes less guitar-like and more of a traditional symphony. At times jaw dropping, it is hard not to get caught up in the cacophony; with each Part a new emotion becomes evident.

As “Part 2” swirls down into a maelstrom of darkness, a spacious black metal nihilism permeates. As the pond-like stagnation rests the nerves, lighting strikes nearby and everything again changes, building and climbing only to find another plateau to wipe the sweat and shake the brow on.

Venturing deeper, one will inevitably find themselves at “Part 5,” a sort of apex to the whole piece. In the beginning is when Barr is at his most accessible and melodic. As it continues, though, one finds themselves inside of a blaring siren surrounded by hundreds of gnomes building and testing digital clocks while at the same time singing in a foreign, clicky tongue. Summoning feelings of dread and despair, it inches down a cavern to eventually be swallowed up in “Part 6” and “Part 7,” where the likes of alarms and preventative measures cannot be found. The music is not to blame for the surroundings one finds themselves in at this point; it was a choice, you see, and by the end of “Part 7,” we all sit and talk with each other trying to figure out what sort of journey we had just embarked on.

The sheer scope and execution of an endeavor such as Annwn is mind boggling to both the seasoned listener as well as a novice making the importance of this release profound. What it took to pull this off one can only imagine, but it is for the benefit of all that it did. A talent so pure and raw and further reaching has to be heard to be exalted as such. Moving, awe-inspiring, and singular, Annwn is a goal for players and listeners alike, but also an inevitable lost gem, as brilliance of this magnitude cannot be handled comfortably in the soft, unworked hands of the general public. [Hydra Head]

-Luc Rodgers


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