Theologian, Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity

Initially, this write-up was going to focus on the collaborative album from Locrian and Christoph Heemann, because it's a fantastic album and deserves as much attention as possible. But then I heard the new album from Theologian and decided that I'd have to start writing about this album immediately.

I'd been waiting for this album, titled Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity, to come out for what seemed liked an eternity. Sir Loren had mentioned in passing many months ago how good it was, and since I'm a big fan of Leech's (aka Lee Bartow) work (also of Love is Nothing, formerly of Navicon Torture Technologies, and founder and operator of the Annihilvs Power Electronix label ), this has been album I'd been anxiously anticipating since I first heard word of it. And needless to say, my expectations were high.

I've been listening to the album on repeat for a couple hours now, and it's fair to say that my expectations have been greatly exceeded. This album is everything I was expecting and more. Much more. It can be difficult to do anything in the field of dark ambient that sounds particularly new or groundbreaking, but Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity is like nothing I've ever heard before. It is as bleak and dark as anything I've heard, but what separates it from the pack is the emotion that Leech has obviously put into this record. One can only manipulate and warp synths and electronics in so many ways, but Theologian has managed to put so much of himself into this record that I have a hard time listening to it without being physically and emotionally moved in various ways. The hard-edged synths on the first track, "Fighting For Nothing" provide that almost monolithic death industrial vibe that fans of Navicon Torture Technologies will recognize, and as you're dragged through the dense, repetitive power electronics of this record, you get the feeling on numerous occasions that perhaps the record is not as much of a downer as the title would indicate. But time and again that suspicion is proven wrong, as you are inevitably dragged through the depths of resentment, hatred, despair, and finally, hopelessness.

As far as I'm concerned, Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity may be unrivaled in the genre, and will certainly stand up as one of the best records of 2012. The CD is available in a nice DVD-sized digipack with amazing photography inside. You can get it now from Handmade Birds, or from the artist himself at Apex Armouries.

Concerning the Locrian & Christoph Heemann album, also available from Handmade Birds: it's a winner as well, as you might expect, and is available on CD as well as a gorgeous gatefold 180-gram LP.  I should hopefully be writing about that one soon, but right now this Theologian album has taken over.

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