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Sadness Delivers Soul-Chilling Post-Black Metal On Immersive New Record

Sadness — the work of Damián Ojeda, who’s also responsible for the screamo/ emo-oriented project Life — sounds as pensively grueling as ever on the project’s new record holding, which is available now.

Sadness, including the project’s latest output, delivers ache-riddled post-black metal that feels like zeroing in on raw personal pain within the thematic expanses that the style normally deals with. Holding feels like a soundtrack for slowly sinking to the floor while all alone in an abandoned, decaying house where brighter moments originally unfolded.

The opening track “cold april morning” begins with a couple of minutes of restrained but decidedly somber guitar-strumming before kicking into gear. Once the flurry of haze-drenched, propulsive drum rhythms arrives and the riffs begin sinking their teeth, the music definitely maintains the soul-wringing, solemn vibe that shone in the earlier moments. As the song progresses into its crushing final moments, jolts of shudder-inducing energy seem to run through the music, as the rhythms take on an electrified and frigid-to-the-touch feel. Within the physically formidable yet decidedly soul-grating music, the instruments themselves seem to be crying out.

Track two, called “capturing,” partly presents a slower and more pointedly mournful vibe, as if exhaustion is settling in within the world of the music. The closing track, called “holding,” opens with another slower, self-contemplative vibe before arriving at a majestically devastating, soul-searing avalanche of riffing in the conclusion of the jolting song. The music feels like jumping headfirst into a pit of snow.

As in other music from Sadness (and Life), Holding isn’t pristinely crisp. However, rather than the “lo-fi” vibe swamping the core of the music, this grating texture rather richly adds to the listening experience. The music feels like it captures moments of raw desperation — and in the real-life versions of these moments, circumstances are rarely “clean,” of course.

Within the music of Sadness, the occasionally repetitious melodies that flow through the mix hit with consistently deeply resonating emotional force. The melodies feel remarkably poignant, with a kind of subtly unhinged desperation defining the vibe and plenty of breathing space to soak in the malaise. The experience of diving into the record as a whole feels on par with trying to push oneself through a nearly-blinding snowstorm, with faint, definitively distant hints of light up ahead that hang in the mist like taunting reminders of what could be.

5/5 Stars

Listen to Holding below!