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“Brooklyn trio Sannhet is an instrumental powerhouse. On So Numb, they shake loose of their black metal and post-rock roots, making heavy music with their own beautiful language.” – PITCHFORK 8.0
“The album is shrouded with a sense of dark foreboding but interlaced within the melancholy and dread is an uplifting, euphoric ambience that pokes fleetingly through the dark clouds.” – THE INDEPENDENT UK
The cover of Sannhet’s third album, So Numb, features a mother shielding her son’s eyes with her hands - an allegory depicting the protection one receives from their parents, but it isn’t meant to be sentimental. As the mother shelters her child, she inadvertently creates a false sense of safety. The child, in turn, spends it’s life seeking comfort and escape in temporary solutions.
Though Sannhet meditate on life’s imperfect escapes, So Numb’s nine songs showcase the band facing life’s pain and joy with their eyes wide open. The collection’s emotional landscape is one of existential dread, melancholy, and loss - ammunition for escapists. Despite these existential conundrums, So Numb has an uplifting, euphoric feel.
The collection was recorded and produced by Peter Katis, who’s known for his work with Mercury Rev, Interpol, the National, and Oneida among others. Working with Katis, the production illuminates a more open sound for the band. While Sannhet’s second album, 2015’s Revisionist, was bigger and harsher than their 2013 debut, Known Flood, they offer a more wistful, melodic approach here.
The first track, “Indigo Illusion,” opens with Christopher Todd’s eviscerating, but anchoring drums locked in with AJ Annunziata’s driving bass and John Refano’s clamoring, unexpectedly coaxing guitar melodies—the song, a muscular anthem that mixes feedback and space, ends up sounding like a million crystals shattering in a dark room. Alternately, the heavier, more solemn and cavernous “Fernbeds” finds added pathos from guest guitar leads by one-man shoegaze-metal artist, Planning for Burial’s Thom Wasluck.
As on past Sannhet albums, the song titles are evocative (“Sapphire,” the churning “Sleep Well,” “Fernbeds,” “Way Out”), but not prescriptive. By the time you’ve gotten to the drifting, airy “Salts,” it’s clear Sannhet has become a more patient, painterly band. The collection ends with the massive “Sleep Well” followed by the eerie, ambient “Wind Up.” Those two songs offer a good example of what the band does well: moving between extremes to create a dynamic that feels both climactic and anticipatory, dramatic and comfortably calm.
Sannhet have always been hard to classify. Since 2010, the Brooklyn trio’s played instrumental music that’s heavy and light, cinematic and intimate, dense but minimal. You could call them “post” something, “experimental metal,” or “math rock,” but none of that’s quite right and the band has thrown another wrinkle into the mix with So Numb. While they don’t write lyrics, they do write subtexts. They pen love letters, extended epistles, and suicide notes, all without words. With So Numb, Sannhet create a new world out of very few ingredients.
Founded in 1991 by Norm Veenstra and Gregg Hudson, TONE has relentlessly explored the often unpredictable, always epic sonic path of a dedicated instrumental ensemble. Based in Washington DC, Tone primarily performs with three electric guitars, bass guitar, and drum kit. The band is known for guitar-based instrumentals dedicated to dynamic contrast and textrues not normally found in rock music. Long recognized as a precursor to the post-rock instrumental scene (Mono, Explosions in the Sky, Do Make Say Think, Maserati, godspeed you! black emperor), Tone’s style is dense and heavy, yet surprisingly emotive. Rolling Stone described their SXSW performance: “Tone (DC): three guitar post-rock army fills every available space with sound, makes an outdoor show sound like an indoor show.”
Tone has proven itself an enduring underdog among its hometown pack of storied punks, many of whom have filtered through the group’s ranks over the years. The band at one time or another has included members of Government Issue, Teen Idles, Unrest, Edsel, Pitchblende, and Thud, just to name a few. Currently a five-piece band, the ranks of TONE have swelled to as many as nine through the years to include multiple guitarists, bass players and drummers. At times TONE has performed with string and horn players, even dancers. From 2004 to 2006, a collaboration with The Bowen McCauley Dance Company resulted in performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., a festival appearance in Aachen, Germany, and a set of intense new works. TONE has performed in numerous venues throughout the Eastern U.S., in Europe, and at SXSW in 2010.
Tone has produced seven albums, including their most recent release, Antares, available on Dischord. Previous recording are available from The Kora, Dischord, Independent Project, and Neurot Recordings.