Album Review: Sadness – Alluring the Distant Eye 7.5 (Black Metal)

Written by Mass

  • Artist: Sadness
  • Album: Alluring the Distant Eye
  • Genre: Depressive Black Metal
  • Release Date: March 29th, 2020
  • Country: USA
  • Highlights: Cedar Wings – Shallow Streams and She
  • Rating: 7.5

A Serene Dream Full of Nightmares

Sadness is an extremely prolific one-man project from Oak Park, Illinois and despite being quite a young band, formed only in 2014, the band’s discography shows 16 studio albums (In 2015 alone, 5 LPs were released)!!! This can only mean that most of the music produced, and Elisa’s approach to this form of art in general, is hit-and-miss. As there are outstanding pieces, there ought to be equal, if not more, negligible (or maybe plain substandard) tracks too. How many world-class pieces can one make in one year in one genre, no matter how young and creative one might be? All said, the current state of affairs points to a more balanced view towards musical production in Sadness, with 1 album in 2018 and 2 in 2019. And 2020 has seen only one album, so far.

On Alluring the Distant Eye, there are four pieces and four fairly self-directed pieces. “Shallow Streams and She” is an insomniac’s frenetic whims to tranquilize at moments and obliterate at others. It is as peaceful as it is panicky. Within the 16 minutes of the song, said extremes surface successively and create the permeating dark/bright duality of the ambience. However, it is safe to say there is progression in the structure of the song, as it sets in a more soothing domain at the beginning and somewhere in the middle, it peaks with outbursts of anger and fright, and then cools down towards the ending passages. “Sky You Feel” is a milder, piano-driven, more dream-like piece… well at least before raw black metal shatters this dream somewhere past mid-song, where ghoulish figures from nightmares reappear and take the unexpecting listener by the collar to unleash a blast of serrated and merciless notes upon them, accompanied by the fiendish vocals.  

The third piece, “Cerulean”, is a blend of all things, from atmosphere to brutality to pain to grief; that is how you keep a song going for 22 minutes and 11 seconds. A somewhat similar progression to the opening track exists in this framework too. A universal depressing and anguish-inflicting mood dominates “Cerulean” with some lapses here and there where melody takes charge (somewhere between 10-11 minutes into the song) or where tempo drops almost abruptly to a mellow ambient/post-rock sound (14-18:30). “Cedar Wings” then is a farewell; it is those final moments before waking from a dream. There is enough action from the main events of the dreams and there is also a shadow of illusion before realizing you have woken up. The sound of the running stream teleports the listener to near a creek in the heart of a known nature, and the acoustic guitar which is added later on bears a striking resemblance to neo-folk works. Only by adding an atmospheric black metal guitar riff can the song shed its neo-folk skin and slither back into its darker coils. The whole journey then draws to a close with the same mysterious running water sound.

Sadness: Bandcamp (Name Your Own Price) / Facebook

The artwork is a black and white photo of an unclear entity, with the lowest possible quality. There is no clue whatsoever of the band’s name or logo or the title of the album. It is a plain, emotionless and cold stare into meaninglessness. That, my friends, is a smart move as it captures the idea behind the album, one which is common in this subgenre, and reflects it to the audience.

One thing I wish I could do was read the lyrics. Unfortunately, I could not get my hands on them and it has left me wondering. Well, to some extent; as it is quite predictable what the subject matters and motifs of the songs are, it would not be beyond imagination to assume they are about loss and sadness and misery. Even so, I wish I could have read them as they are a matter of personal importance to me.

In summary, if you feel like having a serene dream full of nightmares, then give this album a spin.

Rating:

  • Lyrics: –
  • Artwork: 7.0
  • Musicianship: 8.0
  • Vocals: 7.5
  • Overall: 7.5

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