Archon - Ouroboros Collapsing (The Path Less Traveled Records)

Nurse! I'm confused...
Release Date: 
4 Feb 2013 - 11:30pm

Archon's Ouroboros Collapsing album is confusing and frustrating me terribly; I can't work out if I like it or if it needs further work. Only further listenings will tell.
Hailing from New York, this five piece psych/stoner/doom/sludge outfit have described the album as "...exploring the depths of self as a microcosm for all existence." and as I'm currently confused, does that mean that the macrocosm is also confused? It seems about right.
While there are only four tracks on the album, Archon have followed the traditional doom method of extending the song length out, so you still get over 45 minutes of tunes. Opening with Worthless, the intro is all ambient drone with a vocal line that resembles rising and falling chants; a bit of picked string here and a splash of synths.there. Very nice. Then the guitars kick in with the first 'proper' vocal that's haunting yet muted. It's subdued yet heavy psychedelia, and having the vocal so far back in the mix creates a weirdly claustropobic vibe. I think you need to sit back in a big, old armchair, dosed up on valium to get the most out of this track. Suddenly the vocal switches and dips a toe into an almost black metal rasp as the chugging riffs continue. There are some nice layers here and having two vocalists (Rachel Brown, who also plays synth, and Chris Dialogue, who also does 'noise') creates a nice contra-distinction. First track over and I'm thinking this is an album that you need to really concentrate on to appreciate its subtleties...
Up next is Desert Throne with drums that punch through a wall of guitars courtesy of Andrew Jude, who is backed up by Nikhil Kamineni on bass and Rajah Marcelo on drums. Again, the vocals seem muted and it's oddly discordant with the synth seemingly a little out of place. It's as if the song has the potential to really blow your mind but, like a new-born goat, it's struggling to get on its feet. There are some great riffs and solos in this one though.
The harshness of the vocal on God's Eye gives the music a heavier edge, though this isn't a massively heavy album, and there's definitely something to this release, with some great highs and some mediocre lows. Some parts of the song are inspired and yet other sections are lacklustre, which is a shame because there's a lot to like on here.
Final track Masks is another example of the confusing nature of this album. Parts of the composition are sweet and other parts are not. Yet when I relistened to this album through some headphones,  it seemed bigger and more boisterous than on previous occasions.

I honestly haven't been able to come to a definite conclusion with this album so I'd advise you check these fellows out before committing your hard earned cash.