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Seirom – 1973

Aurora Borealis

Seirom‘s double-disc epic 1973 lifts off on CD1 (Strands Of Golden Light) with a raft of shoegaze chorale, a soaring surge of fuzz and gritty noise spreading into the realms of where those of a majestic frame of mind might wander, dallying a while in pastoral landscapes where the soothing sounds of synthesized orchestras wash languidly at the backbrain.  But as Seirom is also none other than MC de Jong, Grand Guignol overlord of the notoriously macabre Gnaw Their Tongues, it’s no surprise that among the orchestral majesty there lurks a beating black metal heart, all blast beats hurled into the fray as guitars lope into what sometimes sounds like Sigur Ròs have had a dose of Ulver‘s special symphonic medicine, and rather liked the woozy effect it has on their ears and subsequent playing.

Large chunks of 1973 loom forth in broad-spectrum megaliths of sound which regularly sweeps all before them; but unlike when he rends flesh and severs ears (and more) as Gnaw Their Tongues, de Jong’s intentions here are far more blissed out, less designed to disgust as to spread an all-encompassing sense of wonder on waves of sound. It’s all delivered with the same bombastic – and frequently over the top – intensity nonetheless. Thickly-spread as the layers of sound are though, this isn’t music for casual listening – it requires its audience to get involved, or at least fall back onto something very comfortable and let go, as Seirom sends for satori, mapping out a shining path elevating straight to a radiant metaphysical musical godhead. All of which is achieved using much the same approach (if not the same instrumentation) as, say, Nadjaan overwhelming musical force subsuming everything which enters its purlieu, driving relentlessly from intently contemplating the ground to a waypoint where  lifting off to the stars is a stage on the journey in search of the sublime.

The darker parts of the trip – it is a trip and no mistake – are not left unexplored. The second CD, Love Songs For Black Hearts, opens with an effected swell of treated voices (human, angelic or electronic) which prefaces a sampled babel of motivational speakers, rotating melodies and urgent rhythmic interjections. The whole surges on ebbs of such impressive magnitude that it surely feels sometimes like there couldn’t possibly be any further up the scale of enormity that Seirom’s sound can ascend – but somehow, it does. “For Black Hearts” is where the blastbeats really kick in, spasming into full-throttle overload as the soundscape expands, the pressure rising and the vocals spewing forth with guttural post-grindcore energy. It all fades into a hypnotic female voice urging the listener towards the light, to “visualise a swirling vortex” in the style of a new age relaxation tape, all crystalline intonation and life-affirming bliss. Plus swirling percussion at hyperspeed too, of course, a euphoric atom-smashing grinding to as conclusive a finish that could almost seem as immense as the end of the universe itself.

-Linus Tossio-

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