Terence Hannum Credit: Aleks Slota

Terence Hannum is perhaps best known as the keyboardist and vocalist of prolific Chicago-born experimental metal trio Locrian, who blend dense, crushing drones and harsh, sweeping black metal to stir up some serious dark energy. But Hannum is also an accomplished visual artist, writer, and solo musician. I was expecting his brand-new album, Dissolving the Bonds, to contain some Locrian-style dissonance, but when I hit play I was treated to five warm tracks of calming, ambient beauty. These cinematic pieces focus on swelling layers, dreamy melodies, and subtle chanted vocals. The title track nods to John Carpenter synth compositions, and my favorite song, “Tender Resignations,” is essentially a pop tune with oscillating organs that recall the sound of the second Suicide record, 1980’s Alan Vega and Martin Rev, which Ric Ocasek of the Cars produced for no pay. The album culminates with “Everyone Has Gathered Here to Destroy You,” a glacial, 15-minute work that buries hypnotic synth patterns under growing and shrinking layers of static. Hannum has an uncanny ability to conjure specific moods, and when it comes to tranquility, Dissolving the Bonds is a masterpiece.   v