Metal Onion

Sept. 21, 2015


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I don't know why I am so drawn to sad and angry music. I had it pretty good growing up, though most of my friends...not so much. Maybe it's a fascination with something I didn't have a lot of experience with. In any case, I am probably 10 times more likely to put on something morose than cheerful. It is for this reason that I fell in love Sonance's Blackflower

Now, a lot of people make sad music, but not every gets it right. You have to capture the anguish while also celebrating a certain beauty behind it. Sonance doesn't just throw pity a's veritable promenade. The first track alone is almost 16 minutes of sludgy, depressive abreaction. “Belgium/Blackflower” builds from the initial meandering notes of grief, to sorrowful violins, to crunching cords of distress, and finally to a peak of dissonant torment.

I'm trying to avoid the onion cliché, but Blackwater exists in layers; each of which is fairly simplistic, but incredibly appealing. Even the basic melody of tracks like “Belgium” (an instrumental) was stuck in my head for days. Sonance doesn't write anything that resembles pop music, but the keen take on songwriting is the same. Hooks are painstakingly chosen and arranged to create something that is easily digestible. The difference is that “Attachment” makes you want to close all the blinds and hide under the covers instead of singing or dancing.

Another noteworthy aspect of the songwriting is how each instrument will progressively contort throughout arrangements. The gorgeous string work on this album is generally quite lovely, but when things take a turn for the ominous, they become decidedly more anxiety-provoking. A great comparison would be the soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream, in fact, that whole story arch is fitting. Classical compositions give way to The Joker's razor-on-piano-wire theme from The Dark Knight. The guitars, drums, and vocals all follow suit as they become more harsh and aggressive.

So if you felt like exploring your inner melancholy today, look no further. Despite the dreary subject matter, I actually tend to leave this album feeling a bit recharged and ready to tackle the world again. Name your own price for Blackflower on bandcamp. Misery loves company.