The Rickety Old Shack

Sadness — Rain

album cover

Possibly the most prolific artist in the depressive / atmospheric metal scene, the mysterious figure behind Sadness is back with another full-length album in Rain. This new album comes only a few months after Sun Into Water was released earlier this year, along with a single from a now-scrapped new full-length from An Open Letter. While the Sadness project has largely held true to its foundation, each subsequent release has shown an ever-evolving, consistently improving song-craft and Rain continues this progression as well. Few bands reinvent themselves from one album to the next, and even fewer do it with any degree of success. Sadness occupies a fairly unique niche, and Rain remains firmly within its confines, though this is hardly a bad thing.

The core elements of Sadness are long, sprawling passages of emotionally affecting — and exceedingly minimalist at times — atmospheric music. Brooding piano and textural synths are used in heavy doses and reinforce the sparse, haunting guitars that slowly build to impressively cathartic emotional releases. In spite of their long running times, each track is well-paced; the atmospheric passages manage to really tug at the heart-strings, then the guitars slowly enter the mix and before you know it you're being assailed by full-on blast beats, a thick wall of guitars and wretched vocals and somehow 8 minutes just went by! These sorts of progressions necessitate the lengthy running times, as it is is impossible to execute crescendos like this without ample time to establish a mood and build upon it.

For those looking for concise, action-packed material, Sadness — on any of their releases — are going to be a disappointment. This is not music for impatient people, although it is rewarding for those willing and able to invest some time and attention into the listening experience. There are two tracks, "Absolution" and the title track, "Rain," which have 'normal' running times — both well under 5 minutes — while the rest of the album has an average length of 11 minute per track. Rain features more prevalent guitars, and some harder edges overall, but otherwise is a very clear successor to Leave and the Otro EP that preceeded that record.

If you are already familiar with Sadness, then Rain is more-or-less exactly what you would expect from the project. The lyrics may be entirely incomprehensible, but somehow this project's material is capable of expressing a wide variety of emotion largely through the instrumentation alone. When the anguished, wretched screams roar into the mix it's truly an impressive moment of catharsis. Rain does lack the backing group chants and some of the more heavy emo influences, but otherwise there are no drastic changes in sound or approach here. The mixing is very good, but the guitars have a very buzzing, washed-out sound to them and function largely as a rhythm instrument.

As a fan of this project already, Rain is another quality dose of material for the collection. Sadness already have a substantial discography, but the last few releases have really shown a lot of growth and added nuance, and this record is another example of that. For those new to the project, this record is the perfect place to start and, if you like what you hear, just start working backward — that should keep you busy for quite some time.

Summary

Merging elements of post-rock, emo, and atmospheric black metal into its own unique configuration, Sadness is back with another nearly-hour-long full-length album in Rain. The product of a single, tireless musician, Sadness dishes out another solid collection of material that traverses the darker side of the emotional spectrum. Like the rest of the project's back catalogue, Rain is a lengthy, emotionally fraught musical journey. I've been a big proponent of Sadness since stumbling across the project and Rain is yet another excellent effort released under its banner. I highly recommend this album and project to fans of post-rock and the various atmospheric metal sub-genres.

Album Information

Release date: August 27th, 2018
Record label: Independent

Elisha — guitars, bass, drums, piano, synths, vocals

Track Listing

  1. Lay
  2. Pure Dream
  3. Absolution
  4. River
  5. Rain
  6. Teal

Link: sadnessmusic.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: August 29th, 2018.