Quick and Dirty: Cicadan – Mother
Release: LP, 2012 (Self-Released)
Genre: Ambient/Doom Black Metal
Sonic Brethren: Fauna, Atriarch, Skagos
A one-man project from Australia, Cicadan has a huge sound for a solo act and within seconds of the album starting, you’ll understand why the band goes by their moniker. The hiss of bugs and angry storms creep in like a biblical plague, setting the stage for the forthcoming storm. Normally I’m not a huge fan of field recordings and ambient soundscapes, but with Cicadan it works. I’ve never been down under, but I imagine that what he’s trying to capture is the sound of the huge, sprawling, and unpredictable wild that encompasses the majority of the continent. It’s death and decay through the lens of the outback.
Like nature itself, the work grows and evolves; beginning as just a dusty, dirty speck and slowly shifting from ambiance to acoustic sections to thick, raw brutality. With a a crack of lightning, the onslaught begins. Huge, heavy blackened doom crushes and pounds with the sole mastermind invoking rasps over the distorted cacophony. The album contains three movements, “Day,” “Dusk” and “Night.” The absence of morning is apt, as this is not a work meant for renewal or rejuvination; it’s a cathartic meditation exercise, cleansing the parched soul that’s begging for nourishment. Harmonics tick like a foreboding clock over plucking nylon strings on “Dusk,” which weaves you through a setting sun that may never rise again. Mother ends as the night erupts in flames, and all is lost.
The grandiose scale of the work is slightly diminished by the use of an over-programmed drum machine, where a simplistic natural kit would have really rounded out the sound and made the album that much heavier. But for the first release of a solo artist, the scope of the project is as impressive as it is devastating.
Final Thoughts: Multi-dimensional and utterly doomed, Cicadan’s invocation of Australia’s brutal wild works well despite sounding a bit unnatural at times.