The Chronicles of DOOM II: Ancestors and the Black Box

MONOLITH OF DOOM AND DESTRUCTION UNLEASHED UPON THE POPULACE – BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED

The Black Box (Flingco Sound System)

The box had been devised long ago by an evil wizard. Balsax the Cleric placed the mysterious relic on the table and turned some magical switch. In a moment, the sounds of the wizard’s demonic magic filled the air and many of us fell to our knees retching and trembling…

A few years ago, Chinese electronicists FM3 created “The Buddha Machine” – a pocket-sized box that played multiple loops and drones. The Buddha Machine became a worldwide sensation and people bought several machines so they could create layered soundscapes. Even Sunn O))) got into the act with a track on the compilation LP Jukebox Buddha which featured various artists utilizing the machine.

The Black Box is essentially the “Anti-Buddha Machine” – it features nine dark ambient drones and buzz from Cristal, Haptic, and experimental black metallist Wrnlrd. There are two “spoken word” tracks from Annie Feldmeier Adams – on one, a voice slowly intones “I don’t feel anything…” and on the other, “Today…I will not kill myself.”

I can imagine having multiple boxes would be fun, making multiple layered drones and utilizing the eerie spoken word bits. There’s a headphone jack for making a late night stroll even more terrifying or for feeding them into your laptop. Two AA battles are needed to power the evil device, but it does have an AC plug adapter. The sound is predictably shitty, but it only lends to the creepitude.

You can get your own Black Box at Flingco Sound System or at finer record shops.

ANCESTORS – Of Sound Mind

(Tee Pee Records – October 6th – 2009 AD)

The Obelisk of Scrodus rose from the sandy haze of dusk. From his perch on the rocky slope, Kromrod could see the infernal hieroglyphs inscribed upon the monolith long ago by some dead race…

Ancestors (not to be confused with the obscure black metal band of the same name) are a band hailing from Los Angeles. Their 2008 debut Neptune With Fire was a two-song slab of epic-length proggy doom. Their second album, Of Sound Mind, is an ambitious concept work with crushing guitar passages and brooding old school electric organ.

A buddy of mine dubbed this formula “A Saucerful of Souls at Zero,” but Of Sound Mind covers a lot of sonic territory over it’s eight songs.  The length of the songs and the ambiance work to Ancestor’s advantage. Half of the songs here are well over 10 minutes (“The Trial” clocks it at 17:34), while the other half are shorter tone poems with spooky piano and otherworldly drones.

“Mother Animal” opens with tribal drums, droning keys and soon unfolds into a swollen guitar riff. The vocals are sparse, but strong — mournful harmonies are sung, not grunted or spoken. The song takes us through many climaxes and crescendos, guitars howl over the funereal organ and waves of cymbal crashes.

“Bounty of Age” features a ethereal bass guitar groove and some soulful and downright bluesy playing from Justin Maranga. The song devolves into balls-out doom crunch with punishing guitars and eerie synths rising above the misty murk.

Of Sound Mind is heavy brilliance without being heavy-handed or lame, and portends even greater things to come from this band.

Wrnlrd