Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Barn Owl: Astro-doom for evil hippies

I've said before how good doom is hard to come by; even harder is it to find good drone. These genres lend themselves almost preternaturally to bad execution, like the space westerns and noir mysteries of the literary world: the tones, progressions, and ambiences are so heavily sedimented that new sounds are practically fictional beasts, and "correct" or even "adequate" sounds are hard to produce without sounding hackneyed.

Which makes finding a band like Barn Owl that much more satisfying.

Barn Owl doesn't fall prey to the dangers of the genres through which it moves, but rather swoops out of the night like its namesake, a solitary hunter among the many imposters. Although Barn Owl sounds somewhat like the lovechild of Om and Sun O))), they're also like those bands in that they are significantly unique enough to merit their own space in metal canon and not be subsumed beneath the accomplishments of other groups. Barn Owl is, with the exception of one album, just guitars with effects pedals and ebows, and yet with even this simplicity of instrumentation they make sounds that are variously beautiful, poetic, evil, and trance-inducing. They remind me also a little of Fenriz's Neptune Towers in a sort of aural orientation toward the stars, though not in a science-fictional sense as much as a deific one, an ancient one. Barn Owl is a band that lives under the signs of old gods.

Barn Owl is great drone, perfect music for chilling--or spacing--out, and well worth listening to if you're into psychedelic music or the more stoner-oriented doom. The below tune is a fine example of their ability to evoke both the majestic evil of a desert night and the beauty of the oncoming dawn.