Masaki Kobayashi's 1964 film Kwaidan drifts around your brain like a mist of evaporated blood. It's a cinematic retelling of four Japanese ghost stories — some outlandish and frightening from the outset, but mostly reeled in by suspense that comes from what the director once called "the juxtaposition between man's material nature and his spiritual nature, the realm of dream and aspiration." This is the perfect mindset from which to consider the band Kwaidan — a new drone-based rock trio featuring Neil Jendon on synths, Zelienople's Mike Weis on drums and Locrian's André Foisy on guitar — and the slow, menacing 12-minute build of "The Sound of This Bell" that closes Make All the Hell of Dark Metal Bright.
Much like Locrian's forthcoming Return to Annihilation, Dark Metal Bright works best as a whole, with an opening three-part suite that feels like the murky miasma of two otherworldly and occult soundtracks: The Last Temptation of Christ and Lucifer Rising. Yet "The Sound of This Bell" makes the best use of the trio's talent, with Foisy's melodic and mournful guitar, Jendon's obtuse and barely there synths, and Weis' cymbals blending into the squiggly modulations. It all builds to a deafening climax of searing synth and rolling percussion, razing the foggy space between fantasy and reality.
Make All the Hell of Dark Metal Bright comes out today on Bathetic Records.