Greed & Rapacity – Loki Bound (9 April 2012, Milam Records)
Good afternoon, Readers! Time for another album review. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these things; I hope I remember how…
With its roots in Australian soil, but being a collaborative effort between members (who are also involved with various other projects, including Azoth, Bleakwood, and Ironwood) living in both Sydney (NSW, AU) and Portland (OR, US) Greed & Rapacity have the goal of “channeling and venting the worst of human nature in sonic form” — not surprising, considering they have deadly sins as namesakes.
Following a demo in 2010, this spring the band’s debut EP Loki Bound was released on cassette by Milam Records (although it’s also available as a digital download, so don’t worry if you never bothered to get a new tape player after the batteries leaked and corroded your Walkman’s innards fifteen or twenty years ago).
The album was named for the god of chaos in Norse mythology, who was bound by the other deities for his mischievous crimes, and had a serpent suspended above him, from which venom would occasionally drip onto the captive, causing him to writhe in pain and agony.
The entire 30+ minute duration of this single-track EP captures that experience in an aural representation. Some might describe this as “black metal” — and there definitely is a remarkably black flavor to it all, strewn throughout just like so many drops of serpent venom punctuating an otherwise bleak and agonizingly uneventful existence.
It takes a few minutes for things to really get underway; primarily we experience an unstructured cacophony of noises, some of which are vaguely identifiable as musical in nature. Around the time we hit the five-minute milestone, the composition finally settles into the pattern that will accompany us throughout the majority of our listening adventure. I’d be tempted to say “journey”, but staying true to the title, we don’t actually go anywhere; instead, like the troublemaker of legend, we remain nearly motionless, in a perpetual state of extreme discomfort.
To the humans of the world, the tribulations as Loki pulled and strained against his ties were disastrous and catastrophic: this was said to have been the source of the earth quaking. However, we the listeners are perceiving his struggles from the vantage point of a fellow immortal, so all his movement amounts to nothing more than a slight pulling and swaying to one side or the other. Agonizingly slow, the bass (and percussion) thump a shuffling beat, like a torturous macabre waltz repeated for all eternity. Long, sustained guitar chords add texture, as do the blackened shrieks and howls that emanate, as though from one who has been shackled and manacled with his own son’s entrails.
In the original legend, the coming of Ragnarök was foretold to occur when the bound Loki finally struggled free of his restraints. Perhaps G&R plan to represent that outcome in a sequel to this album, because here we have no such climax, no peak, no resolve or release. Instead, ultimately the pain and suffering merely becomes more and more muted, until it finally dies away almost completely. Over the final minutes of the track, the faint sound remaining becomes all but indistinguishable from whatever ambient background noises surround the listener (a computer fan, a distant air conditioning unit, traffic rumbling past), such that when it finally does come to an end, one barely even realizes the difference.
Listen to Loki Bound in all its unholy glory (or download a copy, if you prefer — it’s only two bucks) here…
You can also buy it on cassette here (includes a free download).