Brooklyn instrumentalists Sannhet deliver a melancholic and cathartic opus with their third full-length recording, So Numb.
In 2013, the trio turned heads with the release of their brooding debut, Known Flood. It’s blending of trudging post-metal, blistering black metal and introspective post-rock was met with critical acclaim and would serve as the basis for the group’s future releases. 2015’s lauded Revisionist stayed trued to the band’s post-black metal roots, but incorporated more emotive melody and tinkered with shoegaze-esque textures. With So Numb, the band leap even further into the shoegaze realm, resulting in a dynamic tour de force that is as somber as it is euphoric.
The album immediately demands attention with its opening track, “Indigo Illusion”, which envelops the listener in layers of transcendental sound. Thunderous drumming locks horns with throttling bass lines, building tension that is released in dense wall of shimmering, textural guitar work. Myriads of ethereal, soaring riffs intertwine with one another to create a swirling atmosphere that is simultaneously moody and uplifting. These crystalline guitars contrast, yet compliment the throttling rhythm section below, creating a blissful dichotomy.
Faster and more “aggressive” cuts such as the title track and “Sleep Well” hark back to the band’s previous releases with their stampeding, blood-boiling rhythms, but are overcome by this new, virtually flawless marriage between shoegaze and post-everything genres. Drummer Christopher Todd and bassist AJ Annunziata hammer away with their respective instruments while guitarist John Refano conjures sprawling, reverberating post-punk-esque chords that collide with cascading atmospherics and tremolo-picked, melodic fervor on these tunes. Sometimes the guitars will opt for muscular, more abrasive rhythms, such as in the climax of “Sleep Well”, but even these more aggressive parts are awash in seas of kaleidoscopic color and somber beauty.
Other standout moments on the record show the band building upon the more moodier, or ambient aspects of their sound that were briefly touched upon in Revisionist. These include track such as the closing number, “Wind Up”, which features three minutes of calming, serene ambient and drone soundscapes that give off both an angelic and haunting feel. The album’s fifth track, “Salts”, shows Sannhet inundating their newfound post-shoegaze sound with minimalist electronic glitches and rhythms, as well as cavernous, spectral drone. Perhaps the most memorable and powerful of the album’s nine compositions is the seven-minute, slow-burning “Fernbeds”. The track builds from tension-building bass lines, simplistic, yet arresting drum work and airy, guitar-generated soundscapes, to explosive, heart-wrenching instrumentation that pummels as well as soothes.
Sannhet‘s So Numb creates a dynamic, sonic landscape that is both emotionally heavy and serenely beautiful to hear. Without the use of words, this record delivers narratives of great melancholy and existential pain, but provides some semblance of hope to escape these ailments with its triumphant-sounding songs. Though the sonic direction the band took on this LP is not surprising, it is one that needed to be taken. With So Numb, these Brooklynites have crafted their magnum opus.
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Label: Profound Lore
Favorite Tracks: “Indigo Illusion”, “Sapphire”, “Fernbeds”, “Way Out” and “Sleep Well”
For Fans Of: Altar of Plagues, Planning for Burial, Bosse-de-Nage and So Hideous