Wednesday 19 January 2022

Sadness - Motionless, Watching You

Labels: Self-Released/Larry Records

Formats: Digital/Tape

Release Date: 24 Oct 2021


1. Blue

2. Your Train Is Leaving

I've been ordering a lot of records/cds/tapes over the last week or so. You'd think that writing about more music here would make me want to buy more, but you'd be wrong. It's actually a damn good distraction from pulling the trigger in online stores. Discogs states that Sadness has a 35 strong release catalogue, which is astounding given that the project has only been in existence since 2014 (if those stats are correct). My introduction to Sadness came via Avantgarde Music offshoot Flowing Downward, but this is the first time I've featured the band here. This EP was released back in October of last year and is due for a limited tape release via Larry Records very soon indeed!

It’s nearly the end of another week and I’ve been looking forward to sitting down to do this all day. I had another review in mind, but I guess that’ll come tomorrow evening instead. For now, the soothing sounds of Sadness will wash over me. Now, in typical fashion as soon as I say ‘Blue’ is soothing, those tones dissipate. In their place comes heavy, almost crashing instrumentation. The vocals; however, are anything but with clean melody sitting nestled within the music. There are moments here where the instruments take over and the vocals fade, where you may hear distant black metal-like screams (though my ears might be playing tricks on me here). The mid-section of ‘Blue’ is a treat with emo/pop style guitar and melodies swirling all around, but don’t expect those textures to go on forever, as harsh screams do finally overpower the song, even if for brief moments. Joined again by clean singing and towering layers of guitars and percussion, this one song feels like a journey in itself. 

The EP’s second song ‘Your Train Is Leaving’ covers the same trajectory as ‘Blue’, starting out gently and then building up quickly, but this time it’s a much more off-kilter effort with a greater emphasis on black metal. It definitely shows the other side of Sadness. Atmospheric black metal takes many forms nowadays and bands like Sadness are leading the way with their creativity and unapologetic use of pop-sensibilities. ‘Your Train Is Leaving’ is less about those sensibilities yet it still retains a catchiness, especially where the riffs are concerned. Much more metallic and almost akin to post-hardcore at times. It demonstrates the crossover that’s happening between post-hardcore and black metal, even if there are purists that bemoan such a thing. The true atmosphere comes in the last five-minutes, where train whistles and adjacent samples are spliced together with quiet guitar, which sometimes descend into occasional cacophonies of noise. 

They say that beauty (and art in this case) is in the eye of the beholder. As we start to take small and tentative steps towards normality again, the art that we treasure will have the opportunity to touch the hearts of others. In the case of music, bands like Sadness will be there to help cement a place (or a moment) in time. Listening to Motionless, Watching You feels like stepping out into the bright sun for the first time, being blinded by the light before your senses take over. Breathe it in, savour it and go out into the world.

You can stream and purchase the EP directly from Sadness below:-

Sadness -

Info on the tape release can be found here (I hope I've not missed the boat on that! Please correct me if I'm wrong) -

Copies may also be available in Europe via Hunkofplastic Records. You can find them on Instagram.

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