Pyramids' R. Loren Takes Flight With Saliors With Wax Wings

Sailors With Wax Wings

Sailors With Wax Wings (Angel Oven)

A couple of years ago, an album by a band called Pyramids came out of nowhere (or rather Denton, Texas) to blow a few minds with a sound best described as black metal made by angels. Now Pyramids mainspring R. Loren has re-emerged with two new projects that leave the blackened blastbeats behind, though not necessarily the angelic cooing. White Moth, and its accompanying album of the same name, is an agitated and uneven affair. Sailors With Wax Wings, on the other hand, takes the epic sigh and emotional thrashing that made the first Pyramids album so compelling and recasts it in an expansive new form.

The dominant instrumental characteristic of SWWW is the blur-fast guitar strumming of black metal, but shot through reverb and multitracking to approximate something more like metalgaze. And Loren's voice is rarely alone, ever ghosted by spectral harmonies from guest vocalists such as Katatonia's Jonas Renske and goth-folk singer/songwriter Marisa Nadler. Indeed, SWWW isn't a "solo" project proper; its credits are crowded with the names of contributors ranging from Prurient noisemonger Dominick Fernow to 12-string guitar alchemist James Blackshaw to black-metal MVP Colin Marston to Current 93 guru David Tibet. But what you hear here isn't some cheesy "and friends" collaboration, though, just pure Loren: an echoing sonic vastness enlightened here and there by subtle piano arpeggios ("Soft gardens near the sun, Keep your distant beauty"), somber cellos ("There came a drooping maid with violets"), broken static ("There was one who sought a new road"), and even crushing chords of doom and rawk pick slides ("Yes, I have a thousand tongues, And nine and ninety-nine lie"). The song titles, like the album's inspiration somehow or other, come from author Stephen Crane, and what it all "means" is a bewilderment, but taken as a gauzy, hazy whole Sailors With Wax Wings provides a fine soundtrack for dreamy autumnal reverie.