There’s a great deal of irony in the latest album title of instrumental post-metal trio Sannhet. While their new album is called So Numb, it would seem that this is the most evocative song writing we’ve seen from the group to date. The emotions that this album can rouse from slumber deep within the listener are not just your simple “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” that come along with music that catch and impress the ear, but rather ones of blinding ecstasy and immobilizing sorrow. In crafting this collection of songs, Sannhet have taken the approach of the painter. The group uses every drum hit, bass plunk and guitar strum to paint a picture with textures and colors that are just as interesting and thought out as the work they comprise the entirety of.
While their previous album Revisionist was a bit harsher than their first record Known Flood, So Numb sees them taking a more melodic approach to their particular brand of post-metal. This album has melodies that could sneak onto a shoegaze record and nobody would be the wiser. Though the thunderous drums and gruff bass that intro the album on the opener “Indigo Illusion” might make you think otherwise, this album has many a sweet spot. For example, just after a minute and fifty seconds of that drum and bass combo with some light guitar backing, you get a distant guitar melody that conjures up a wistful feeling that gets more intense as the song goes. Eventually the guitar is an impenetrable wall of melody that grinds against the drum and bass while still appearing as though it is far in the back of the mind of the listener.
That is just one example of how the band uses the music to reach inside and grab you firmly by the heart. On the following track “Sapphire” the group introduce an ear grabbing melody that gets reuses throughout the song in different contexts, sometimes being extended to mimic a post-rock ascension, or thrown over blast beats to create a post-black atmosphere of euphoric intensity. On the title track “So Numb” the group captures you in a melancholic trance, opening with blast beats and echoing guitar that focuses on lower notes so as to pull you deeper in instead of sending you soaring. Later in the song, however, the higher guitar notes come back to pull you slightly out of the murky emotional state the band submerged you in. Outside of focusing on these three tracks, there are also long, mournful songs like the seven minute epic “Fernbeds”, songs with multiple parts like the hypnotizing beauty of “Secondary Arrows” and songs that throw so much at you in the way of guitar layers that your head starts to spin, namely “Sleep Well”. The first three are discussed in particular because you can get a great idea of what the band is about on this album and just how well they play with dynamics to create an experience where you are not only a passenger but an active participant in the palpable emotions oozing from these tracks.
There is undoubtedly something on So Numb for everybody who likes instrumental post-metal. This album is worth several spins for all the quality music is brings to the table, but the most important thing is to not let the title fool you. This is a record designed to fill you with emotions until you’re fit to burst. It’s not unrelenting in the sense that it is a punishing listen, but it is unrelenting in that it constantly asks something of you. It asks you to move away from the role of silent observer and to move into the role of active participant. This album is not just a painting you’re supposed to observe and enjoy, but one you’re supposed to put your hands on, run your fingers across so that you can feel each hardened globule of paint and recognize it as something that you can not only view, but feel as well.
You can buy So Numb digitally and physically from the Sannhet’s Bandcamp.