It’s rare that I feel the need to Google a song’s title in order to have any idea what in the world it might mean. In the case of Manchester, NH post-metal band Girih and their latest single, “Sinneslöschen,” my Googling honestly only raised more questions than provided answers. All of the results seem to revolve around an urban legend depicting an arcade game in the 1980s that could only be found in the Portland, Oregon area for a brief period of time. The game was called Polybius, and the legend is that it was part of a government mind-control experiment, in which the arcade machines would have psychoactive and highly addictive effects on their users. There is little concrete information in this legend beyond that, though multiple iterations of it identify Sinneslöschen as the manufacturer behind the game itself.
What does this have to do with Girih and the song/video “Sinneslöschen” exactly? It’s not entirely clear! The name appears to loosely translate from German as “sense delete,” possibly in the sensory deprivation kind of way. Watching the video for the song though, which we are pleased as punch to be premiering along with the song itself, the abstract narrative of it perhaps makes a little more sense.
There is undoubtedly some serious internal strife going on here, whatever it is exactly! And the touches of retro/80s imagery in the form of some outdated-looking video technology and plenty of VHS video effects certainly lends credence to there being some nod to this legend. More importantly, the largely abstract and vaguely menacing and foreboding imagery perfectly matches a track that is constantly creeping at the edges with dark energy before bursting multiple times into a melee of sinister pounding and rage. Borrowing several pages from the likes of Russian Circles, Telepathy, and other masters of nail-scratching post-metal tension and release, “Sinneslöschen” is a great example of bass-heavy instrumental metal that knows how to yank the listener around and still offer a satisfying resolution.
Of the video itself, guitarist Alex Paul has this to say:
“We wanted to make music video that was more like what we used to see; an expressive visual companion to the audio, its own piece of art. There is a greater story here that is thematic over the whole album, but the video stands on its own as a narrative that draws the viewer in and makes them question what they saw.”
Whether that larger story has any connection whatsoever to the events depicted in the urban legend of Sinneslöschen remains to be seen, but on its own the video certainly accomplishes what Paul says they set out to do with it. You’ll get to hear the full story soon enough as the band’s debut album Eigengrau releases November 16 through Dunk!records and A Thousand Arms. You can pre-order the album directly from the band’s website.