Saturday, 29 April 2006

Album Review: The Sun Awakens

Despite the incredible prolificacy that has seen the release of seven albums since the turn of the millennium, the advent of a new Six Organs Of Admittance record remains an event to cherish.

Having finally achieved mainstream recognition with his last album, 2005's sublime School Of The Flower, Ben Chasny - who ostensibly is Six Organs Of Admittance - has decided to push away from the psych-folk blueprint that he conquered with the last Six Organs album and propel himself into the depths of bohemia with a masterclass in dark artistry.

Working with some of his long-time collaborators (notably Noel Von Harmonson of Comets On Fire and Tim Green of The Fucking Champs) means that some of the hallmarks from earlier releases remain, so fans will recognise For Octavio Paz's melancholic six-strings on Torn By Wolves and fragments of Compathia's sweet lullabies can be found on The Desert Is A Circle. But this is an undeniably darker experience than its predecessor; while some of the gentle percussion and the occasional cymbal crash remain, there's little that isn't immolated by the disruptive fire of Chasny's electric guitar. Chasny even goes so far as to mangle his own words on Black Wall, before a volley of feedback blows his falsetto away entirely.

At the end of The Sun Awakens lies the twenty-four minute River Of Transformation, a desolate, droning whirlpool and the most oppressive track that Chasny has recorded to date, whether under his Six Organs guise or any other. The fearsome, crunching guitar is heavy enough to recall some of Chasny's psych outings with Comets On Fire, but the weird other-worldly chanting hauls the track back into the avant-garde mire.

Dark, taxing and almost overwhelming complex The Sun Awakens may be, but it's an album laced with enough of Chasny's particular brand of mercurial grace to ensure that Six Organs Of Admittance's second album for Drag City is, nonetheless, a work of austere beauty.

No comments: