By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[damián antón ojeda; 2021]
Key track: “pregarden mayflowers”
Texas blackgaze outfit Sadness have already proven themselves to be a competent artist in their niche. 2019’s I Want to Be There was well-received critically and by fans, marked as a lovable and sometimes very blissful, uneven experience. Since then, two more EPs have been released, the latest of which being Rain chamber. A sonic departure from past records with its electronic influences and massively cleaned up production, Rain chamber is an all-around pleasant experience.
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The album starts like one would expect: with rain sounds. The echoey plinking in the background makes the sound feel spacious, like some massive, dark, metal chamber pouring down with impossible rain. As far as blackgaze is concerned, “a capture and pink dream moment spike”, is definitely a bit against the grain as soaring and triumphant synth sound bursts out from the cold darkness with shrieking vocals following suit, filling the space completely. After a long lull and more of that plinking deep within the space, a more traditional blackgaze guitar riff comes roaring out to end the track.
The drums in this album are much more pleasing to the ear than 2018s Alluring the distant eye, where they feel much too punchy and loud in the mix to be a seamless component of a track and end up as a distraction. The title track displays this wonderfully with its percussion nestled squarely behind the main melody. This reservedness is welcome, but the synth line present throughout most of the track gets a little too repetitive. The lone piano at the last minute and a half of the track is quite beautiful and exudes nostalgic and foggy memories of the Minecraft soundtrack, oddly enough.
The album ends with “pregarden mayflowers”, a more syrupy and soft track that feels, aside from the awkward first two minutes, like a final crescendo of a musical movement. The floaty soprano vocalizations coupled with the pillowy drums make the ending with the track which features a chorus singing, along with Ojeda’s screaming and a beautifully layered and strangely gentle instrumental feel all the more earned. The track and the album ends with the same melody as before now stripped back to its bare bones and deep within the dark chamber. It is a haunting way to end such an atmospheric album.
Rain chamber is a solid release and a visible step up from Sadness’ last work. While there are small missteps here and there that break the immersion a little bit, the music achieves a unique atmosphere. It conjures images of some artificial rain coming from high above in a deeply dark metal room, and to this effect, the album does what it is supposed to do. It was an enjoyable half an hour that I could see myself coming back to every once in a while.