Tuesday 11 July 2023

Sans Visage - Moments

Labels: Asian Gothic/Dog Knights Productions/Utarid Tapes/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 20 Dec 2017


1. 22

2. Song 1

3. Song 2

4. Worthless

5. Denial

6. Alt

7. Barricade

8. Distance

9. Life

10. Sway

11. Past

Time's moving too quickly again, which in turn means I've been slowing down on the writing front (not through choice but because of tiredness). With that being said, slow progress is still progress and so I'm back with another ZBR roster review. It's another rare one this because it's about an album that I own on a physical format (I'm trying but I'm nowhere near owning everything). 

Japan's Sans Visage released their first demo in 2014, while their latest release to date is the 2020 split 7" with Look At Moment. Moments remains their only full-length so far, having been released on vinyl by Asian Gothic and Dog Knights Productions in 2018 following it's initial digital release in late 2017. Tape runs from both Zegema Beach Records in 2018 and Utarid Tapes in 2019 helped to spread their sound further.

Honestly, this week’s been a breath of fresh air so far. I’ve felt way more focused in my work life, though it hasn’t translated to the blog just yet. I still need to book some time off to truly get back on track with everything. The evening sun has caught me at the right time and so has this latest instalment of my ZBR roster review series, especially as I hold a lovely maroon vinyl copy of Moments in my personal collection. I’ve been listening to mathcore on my way to and from work today too, so the slower tempo of opener ’22’ is a welcome change of pace. A fantastic piece of Japanese screamo that typifies just how good the island nation is when it comes to heavy music where melody is king.

‘Song 1’ is misleading (and you don’t need me to tell you why) but it still feels like it has a completely fresh sound, such is it’s higher tempo and immediacy. ‘Song 2’ follows on, much more in the vein of Sans Visage’s countrymen Envy, subtly. Spacey, earthy post-hardcore with quieter passages interspersed between more fractious ones. Brilliant! The song ‘Worthless’ is anything but. It’s filled with genuine and heartfelt emotion that only comes from music, and musicians that you have an affinity with. You’ll know what I mean when you listen to that song or artist that you hold in such high regard. That one that reminds you that things are good. There’s even some loverly math-like riffs gong on to.  

‘Denial’ goes in a more angsty direction, though it’s also amongst the album’s most melodic songs (instrumentally). Again it’s not a long-player by any means but it doesn’t need to be. Sans Visage hit the nail on the head perfectly. The sub one-minute ‘Alt’ is an example of controlled chaos. It’s fraught but not frenetic if you get my drift. I’ve always admired Japanese bands for their ability to be sensitive even at their most intense. I think it has a great deal to with their character as individuals. Sans Visage bring about a shift during the second half of Moments with lengthier songs, starting with ‘Barricade’. It’s a shift that creeps up on you somewhat, especially when there’s an injection of euphoria during ‘Distance’.

Progressive/slightly bluesy tones greet you on ‘Life’. For the ninety seconds that make up the song’s intro, you’re whisked off to a place of instrumental freedom before the layers build and crescendo in typical post-hardcore fashion. What comes later on mixes harsh vocals with cleans that sit on top of the recording beautifully but also somewhat desolately too. Penultimate number ‘Sway’ brings the band’s instrumental prowess to the fore once again in a very understated way. You’re forever waiting for an explosion of dissonance and energy, but that wait only conspires to frustrate as Sans Visage remain measured to the last.

Album closer ‘Past’ stands with abundant grandeur, such that no additional words can describe what this music feels and sounds like. It’s incredibly hard to believe that Moments was/is still the first full-length album from Sans Visage. Their maturity and sensitivity flows through the music. They deliver it all in such a neatly packaged way too. If ever there was a reason for abandoning mainstream music (that’s almost always dumbed down), this is it.

You can stream and purchase Moments as a name-your-price download from Sans Visage below:-

Sans Visage - https://www.facebook.com/sansvisagetokyo

Physical copies can still be purchased from the labels below (apologies if I've missed anyone):-

Dog Knights Productions - https://dogknightsproductions.com/collections/12-dk/products/dk119-sans-visage-moments-12-lp

Dog Knights Productions - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Utarid Tapes - https://www.facebook.com/utaridtapes

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

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