Tuesday 6 December 2022

MASSA NERA - Derramar | Querer | Borrar

Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 02 Dec 2022


1. An Endless Cycle // I Was More Than The Weight Of My Work

2. Hipocrita

3. Lost Faces

4. Adrift

5. Shapeshift

6. April 7th

7. A Faint Goodbye

8. Tristeza Consume (Lowering the Blinds)

9. Eyeless Faces

10. Wanting (Ghosts Haunting Ghosts)

11. You Mean So Much More Than Misery To Me

12. Anchored

This evening's post was going to a continuation of my ongoing Zegema Beach Records Roster review series (and I guess it kinda is), as not so long ago US screamo/post-hardcore band MASSA NERA wrote to let me know about their newest record Derramar | Querer | Borrar and asked if I could write about it. It was released a mere four days ago via ZBR and it's already received a huge response, as vinyl and tape copies are quickly selling out. I should have been at a really boring meeting this evening. Thank god I swerved that!

It’s amazing to me that so many bands release new album in December, as the clamour to write end-of-year lists grow too much for bigger publications (because apparently the end of the year starts before the 1st day of the new year!). Thankfully, there are some us who still appreciate those so called latecomers and the brand new album from MASSA NERA is no exception. Album opener ‘An Endless Cycle // I Was More Than The Weight Of My Work’ is a screamo song that leans heavily on instrumentation and progression, with vocals used sparingly throughout it’s seven-and-a-half minute running time. There’s also great use of caustic hardcore towards the end, which really gets things going.

‘Hipocrita’ accentuates MASSA NERA’s musical approach, which here combines post-metal, emo and off-kilter melodics perfectly. It’s early on but there seems to be a real and obvious maturity to the band’s sound. People sometimes mistake maturity for giving up and settling into a formula that works. MASSA NERA are a long way from giving up and if anything, they’re building up to much greater things. ‘Lost Faces’ is an immediate continuation without any pause, which is nice and with that the momentum continues into something that’s altogether heavier and more fraught with dissonance. It’s beautiful.

This isn’t a short album but it needn’t be either. Screamo and emoviolence of late has very much been about shock and awe, but this album could very well be a turning point. ‘Adrift’ is a considered and thoughtful post-hardcore song that plays more on the band’s emotions, translating them into music tells a story and carves a journey. That’s the turning point for me! In fact, things seem to be veering closer and closer to metal as you get further into this record, as demonstrated on ‘Shapeshift’s first ninety-seconds at least, before some chilled electronica hits. Again, another shift (which I guess is the reason for the song-title). I have to say I’m digging it. A bit of drum ’n’ bass/techno/house/whatever (I’m not a dance music expert as you can tell) is good once in a while and it works so well here.

You’re snapped back to reality on ‘April 7th’ with it’s blistering hardcore sensibilities. It may be more familiar given MASSA NERA’a past, but it’s definitely a shock to the system after the previous song. At this point you’ll be past the mid-point in Derramar | Querer | Borrar. ‘A Faint Goodbye’ is an exquisite post-hardcore number filled with truly dramatic crescendos. The latter half of the album is filled with shorter, more urgent songs but that doesn’t stop them from being packed with creativity. ‘Tristeza Consume (Lowering the Blinds) being a case in point.

‘Eyeless Faces’ flows forth straight after with MASSA NERA’s own use of panic chords and mathcore leaning musicianship. This is turning out to be an album of two halves so far but one that’s still a perfect whole. If you like terrifying noise and screamo madness, look no further than this song or ‘Wanting (Ghosts Haunting Ghosts)’ for that matter. It’s percussive tempo is straight-up grinding, while the guitars present a shoegaze-like backdrop underneath the rabid screams. One thing that MASSA NERA has always done well is introspective passages and here they package those passages up alongside black metal influences. 

Penultimate song ‘You Mean So Much More Than Misery To Me’ is hard hitting not just in title but also musically, though the use of strings during it’s mid-section turns it on it’s head a little. So good from beginning to end, it’s atmosphere digs deep into your psyche. Closer ‘Anchored’ is initially so much more laid-back. It’s a song that you can shut your eyes to and allow yourself to be whisked away momentarily. MASSA NERA’s lyrics talk of defeat and failure, which are relatable everyday feelings for many. Stark and harrowing, the album falls into silence.

It’s not often I finish a day at work with a review of this length. Maybe I needed this. I can definitely say that MASSA NERA have created something really special here. Derramar | Querer | Borrar is the soundtrack to 2022. Crushingly heartbreaking yet euphorically deserved. 

Stream the album in full and purchase it on all formats from MASSA NERA below:-

MASSA NERA - https://www.facebook.com/MASSANERANJ

Copies are also available from Zegema Beach Records below (while stocks last):-

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/massa2

Zegema Beach Records USA - https://zbrusa.com/products/massa2

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

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