Review Summary: ...not just an aural experience but a visual one as well.
I am listening to this now, for the first time, in a big metal bird in the sky. 34,000 feet above sea-level. Surrounded by sleepy men in fedora hats, ungrateful patrons with stiff upper lips, and of course, rich, snobby white
folk with as much poise as a rabid squirrel. Perhaps this is the soundtrack I need
in order to escape from these unsettling surroundings. To let my mind collapse within itself.
"The Black Rain" . . . what a suiting title for an album like this. It did, however, remind me of Ozzy Osbourne and made my teeth grind in horror for a fraction of a second but I won't get into that. Well, the album starts with a foreign woman singing in falsetto, probably mourning over something dark and depressing like the death of a relative while some light feedback and strings slowly fade into the whole depressing scene. She sounds like she's singing in a small tin box tied down with rusted chains, never able to escape. Dark piano chords accompany the slow-building feedback, and a solo violin along with a screechy news broadcast join in on the fun. The news broadcast is probably about something dark and depressing like illness or famine. All these foggy, ambient textures keep weaving through one another until the cumulative sound of the entire album is put on display. Yes, the whole album, excluding one of the more exciting
songs on the album, sounds like this one song, which is not a bad thing.
Distorted pianos, lonely violins, and eerie ambient sound effects (water dripping, nighttime winds, even the imprisoned woman returns for another show) consume a majority of this album's 53-minute length. This, like I mentioned before, is not at all a bad thing. These gloomy components make this album not just an aural experience but a visual one as well. Closing my eyes now, I can see a number of things: wind chimes dancing against a sea breeze at night
, children nervously stalking through a forest at night
, a filthy backyard toolshed illuminated by spontaneous flashes of light from a broken light bulb suspended from a rusted wire at night
. And I ridiculously emphasize the night portion of these visions because this is, quite frankly, a very dark album. Not menacingly dark like Kreng or Wolf Eyes, but a non-violent, all-encompassing darkness like The Caretaker or Atrium Carceri.
The second-to-last track "Finale" is probably the most energetic thing you'll hear off this album (this is the exciting
song I hinted at before.) It is the only song on here to feature percussions and Anoice utilizes them well. I just realized that was the first time I mentioned the band's name in this review. Yeah, their name is Anoice and they're from Japan. Check 'em out on MySpace. Anyway, "Finale" quite literally ends with a bang, or a crash
I should say, as brazen guitars, pianos, strings, and drums all come together in a brilliant symphony, similar to the work of John Murphy for the 28 Days/Weeks Later soundtrack, then fade away as a fighter plane crashes
into the ground (at night
So I'm still stuck on this big metal bird, which is still stuck in the sky. There are still rich, snobby white folk complaining about the lack of ice cubes in their cups of carbonated water and Sprite. And this album continues to play on repeat as I subconsciously escape from this compressed aluminum cabin, hundreds of miles from my final destination. I'm teetering on 12% battery life on my laptop, so I should probably wrap this sausage. "The Black Rain" is a dark, brooding, enlightening, and sometimes-unpredictable experience. It should not be listened to in parts but as a singular piece of art. I suggest closing your eyes while listening and, for the full experience, listen to it at night
. Thank you.