Metallic mind-benders Sannhet create bendy, destructive new journey on riveting ‘Revisionist’

SannhetI’ve mentioned this many times in the past, but we do have an obsession for putting labels on our metal and trying to argue whether something does or does not fall under that gigantic umbrella. The arguments usually get stupid, and so much of that effort never focuses on whether the music at hand is, you know, good.

I say this because we take another visit with instrumental band Sannhet, whose new record “Revisionist” is about to drop and who, once again, have come up with a document that leaves us totally dizzy and cloudy headed. The trio have been making strange, compelling sounds for five years now, with their excellent 2013 debut “The Flood” being released by Sacrament (of well noted and loved NYC venue St. Vitus) and entering the world to wide embraces. Yeah, it was a whirling dervish of insanity, and it was hard to put your finger on just what that sound was supposed to be. But no doubt it was heavy and exciting, and it sure as shit deserves inclusion into the metal world. Now, with their second album upon us, it’s time to once again have those annoying conversations about where these guys fit. Doesn’t matter. As long as people acknowledge the awesomeness of this nine-track journey, you can call it what you want and classify it as whatever. I’m too busy enjoying it.

Sannhet coverThis band—guitarist/sound looper John Refano, bassist/visual artist AJ Annunziata, and drummer/sampler Christopher Todd—now call the challenging, always interesting Flenser Records home, and Sannhet’s music continues to develop and warp in the best possible way. They can thrash you and bash you, taking you into stormy black metal servings and doom-laden terrain, but they also can ease it out, get atmospheric, and even go zooming through the stars. It might not be skullduggery from open to close, but it’s a damn bumpy ride the more adventurer of listeners should enjoy thoroughly.

The title track kicks off the record, a rumbling, spacey thing that hits a boil early and heads right into the midst of moody fog. The sounds continue to develop and fold, eventually landing in a pocket of mist. “Lost Crown” follows, breaking up any semblance of calm with disruptive drumming, static-fed guitar lines, and a melody that bursts wide open and darkens the scene. All elements keep piling on top of each other, with thrashy sections adding grit and the whole thing going out on a blistering note. “Enemy Victorian” is a little chilling at the start, like you’re on your way to a horror scene, but then guitars sweep in, feeling a little surfy at times. The track then takes on a wintry ride, enabling you to see your breath in front of your face as you follow the path. “You Thy_” has an aggressive start, with melody intertwining into the fury and the rhythm tapping at your head and nerve endings. But clouds re-emerge and fresh air flushes into the scene, letting you stand in the gust of wind.

“Striking Forward” lets loose some random notes that float in the air before the band heads into murkier territory, where it might be tough to see a hand in front of your face. The guitars hum and then bristle, with emotion striking a high point, and the militaristic drums inject some structure into what’s a slurry environment. “Atrium” starts with a voice sample that leads into the guitars striking you to attention and the melody soaring away. The track can make you feel numb in spots, but it also is damn riveting. “Empty Harbor” has a lonely feel, like a single soul standing on an early morning shore before a journey the figure must make itself. Sounds ring out, with the ambiance feeling solemn, but the ending picks up and catches fire. “Mint Divine” has a voice sample snaking through the structure, feeling like a hallucinatory vision, rising and falling and always leaving you wondering where you are. Closer “False Pass” has a quivering, ghostly voice sending transmission in the background, offering nautical information, before the thing tears open and starts pummeling. The melodies are strong but also frosty, generating smoke from a growing fire, getting punchy and a little proggy, and slipping into a furious display. That lets them get their last, hammering shots in before everything submits to corrosion.

There are plenty of bands out there doing the instrumental thing and going on all kinds of explorations, but no band does it quite like Sannhet. They have their own way, their trademark style, and a reckless abandon that makes “Revisionist” such a thrilling ride. The more they shapeshift into a different beast, the more chaos we have to look forward to as they soar into the future.

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