PICK OF THE WEEK: Sannhet pour emotional tumult, devastating self-reflection into ‘So Numb’

Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

It’s strange, as you grow into an adult, how much of your life is shaped by your childhood. I’ve come to learn that personally in 1.5 years of therapy, and you can see that play as people reach high school and college age. Our upbringings have a lot to do with who we are and what we become, and there’s not much we can do to change that foundation.

The cover of Sannhet’s new record “So Numb,” their third, depicts a mother shielding a child’s eyes, but as they point out, the scene isn’t necessarily a wholesome, loving one. It’s meant to show a child being hidden from dangers and bad things in life, something we all must experience as we grow, thus potentially resulting in a young person who cannot effectively deal with stress, anxiety, and failures. Because of this thinking, the band—guitarist John Refano, bassist AJ Annunziata, and drummer Christopher Todd—decided to take these nine songs and use them to face the challenges of existence head on, without blinders and masked eyes, and tackle whatever adversity is in front of them. That burst of energies and catapulting emotions come across strong and clear on this collection, easily their best record so far, and the fact they can get across these things in instrumental form is stunning. It’s like a soundtrack for one’s developing mind.

“Indigo Illusion” starts the record with the tempo driving and goth-friendly guitars spilling open. The melodies create a fog dream, while the band hits a post-punk groove, the leads soar and then chill, and everything cascades to the ground. The guitars in “Sapphire” trickle generously, creating a deathrock mood, and then the music begins to burn. Gazey waves break, as an emotional caterwaul bursts and infuses everything with color. The guitars sear through the calm, before cutting abruptly at the song’s end. The title track is murky and punchy, settling into a quiet bed of sound and giving off a mystical vibe. A sweltering melody line erupts out of that, some of the most memorable guitar phrasing on the record, and from there, the energy surges all the way to the finish. “Fernbeds” is the longest track, a 7:29 cut that starts with echoing bass that veers into cold shadows. The drums crash, and the song takes on the feel of a cold, rainy Autumn day, with guitars coming out of that like a rare sunbeam through the downpour. Later, the song quivers, while melodies slice through, and clouds rush as the music fades.

“Salts” bathes in smeary guitars, as the bass bulges, and a post-punk-style assault begins. The drum beats stutter while the guitars navigate cold, rapid waters that continue until they reach the shore. “Way Out” runs headlong into meaty basslines and a chugging pace. Air gushes into the picture, as the clean guitars add additional breezes. Keys blend in as the song darkens, and one final burst works to negate any brightness. “Secondary Arrows” soaks in a noise haze, while keys drip and the bottom drops. A synth mist wets your face, while the pace plods along, and the music sizzles out. “Sleep Well” is a disruptive force on the front end, with the volume increasing, strong riffs flexing their muscles, and a Rush-like feel to the ambiance. The bass lands blows while the guitars spirals, bringing the song to a pit of sludge. Closer “Wind Up” starts with calming chimes and thick sounds floating in air, as cosmic winds arrive to bring an otherworldly feel. Keys bleed as the music blends into time, leaving the record on a somber note.

Sannhet’s indescribable sound keeps developing, as do their compositional chops, which are at their peak on “So Numb.” The band hits upon so many mental and physical lows and highs on this record, that absorbing this in album form, one song after another, is the best way to take the entire psychological inventory packed into this collection. It’s a high point for a band that keeps topping themselves with each new release.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/sannhet/

To buy the album, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/

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