Locusts and Honey Top Ten – Reckless Records London

Locusts and Honey Top Ten

Locusts and Honey top ten





Sub Templum

Rise Above, 2008

With their blown out guitar tone and howling vocals (existing in the liminal space betwixt wolf and wind, and which would not be out of place on an early Norwegian black metal record), how could I fail to love this? A measured parade of chords, slow and unstoppable, steadily building tension with cracking use of spicy harmony before – just as steadily – releasing it. Throw in some bassy, heart-stopping drums and it pushes on like the escapement of a damnèd clock. Plus, it was recorded by Leccy Wizard’s own Jus Oborn. Beezer!



Elysiüm/Monarch! Split

Solitude Records, 2006

Though the stark contrast is pleasing, Elysiüm’s four tracks of technical grind can't quite prepare you for Monarch’s 57 minute epic, which is really where I'm going with this pick.

 I saw these cats quite a number of times, from packed fests to pub basements where there was little more audience than the bands actually on the bill, but whatever the situation they never failed to deliver exactly what I was needing. Glacially slow and majestically heavy, the track on this split – to me – represents a pinnacle in their career. My love of the Sovtek sound and of germanium-based fuzz pedals in general comes from their formidable guitar tone. Rasping like the death rattle of a pathologically angry smoker, that growl, gutter and fritz wants to show you things on the back of your eyelids you'll never quite find words for. Cosmic.



Things Viral

Southern Lord, 2003

Khanate taught me so much about the use of space and silence in evoking feelings of isolation, dread and hopelessness. Alan Dubin’s schizotypal lyrics and unhinged vocal delivery, focused on breathing and shape, is incredible, as is Stephen O’Malley’s minimalist, experimental use of heavy guitar. And Tim Wyskida is less a drummer here than the percussion section of an orchestra. Wizard!



Paso Inferior

Frigidity, 1997

A band to be reckoned with; one determined to be led by the bleak mood they wish to convey more than genre tropes, which is something I always hope for Locusts & Honey. On later records such as El Mundo Frio (2005) or Garten der Unbewusstheit (2011) – and all the way up to the present day, in fact – the gentle and painfully beautiful way Corrupted build to (and collapse from) walls of heavy guitar is truly cinematic, which is something else I hope L&H share with the Japanese masters. But I've picked an earlier record from their more straight-up-but-never-dull, relentlessly pummelling era (earlier EPs such as Nadieeven exhibit a kind of groove you seldom hear in doom). The textures of distorted guitar, throaty bass, cymbal wash and punctuation are added to by carefully mixed feedback. At times you get the feeling the feedback is in fact the mournful, tortured screams of despairing spirits, lost for eternity. Nice.


Henryk Górecki

Symphony No. 3 / 3 Olden Style Pieces (Kilanowicz, Polish National Radio Symphony, Wit)

Naxos, 1993

It's Symphony No. 3 that has its influence on Locusts & Honey. Particularly the famous first movement. Bowed double basses let you know you're in for an ungodly serving of serious, felt-in-the-guts doom, then the other strings slowly layer and intertwine to sauce it with tight-chested heartache. Not being a Polish speaker, I looked into the lyrics and the story behind them. I was in absolute floods, mate.






Paysage d’Hiver – Das Tor 

I’ve always loved those black metal bands who conjure uptheir own interior worlds, like people do with D&D or Games Workshop or something. If you stick this on through headphones at the right moment it either places you slap bang amid a blizzard on the Jungfrau or mesmerised by visions of the pearly-fresh snow apres-ski. Listened to on the right winter bike ride this is properly hypnotic.


Winter – Into Darkness 

It was the cover photo the got me first – a cross between something from Masahisa Fukase’s Ravens series or the famous Dresden Angel. There is a certain strand of deathly monochrome that just does it for me and it brings on the bleak mental torpor like nothing else…


Codeine – The White Birch 

This one for the clean guitars obviously – so brittle and stark and beautiful. I think this album has the edge on Frigid Stars for me. So much sorrow in the nothing that is not there as much as the nothing that is!


Strid – End of Life 

One of the saddest black metal records for me. Howling, bawling riffs. Dunno about this being the first proper DSBM band as there is so much competition, but I used to play this alongside some of Nils Okland’s Hardanger fiddle music and Leif Ove Andsnes’s ‘The Long Long Winter Night’ for the perfect dose of Norwegian melancholy.


Nurse With Wound – Salt Marie Celeste 

Will always remember listening to this in an old Victorian House in Leytonstone, I could never quite tell if it was the floorboards creaking or the record…. It must be the perfect soundtrack to reading ghost stories in the winter. Try it as accompaniment to Three Miles Up by Elizabeth Jane Howard if you really want to spook yourself. 

 Thanks Tomás and Stephen, the brilliant debut LP is out now and available below.