08 July 2013
by Ruth Booth
Known Flood doesn’t come with an introduction. This isn’t a record that makes some grand entrance, or eases you in with atmospheric, meaning-laden build up. Press play, and there you are, immersed in this bleak, driven cacophony, off and out the blocks before you’ve caught your breath. Then, just as suddenly, it’s gone. Be prepared. Brooklyn’s Sannhet aren’t going to wait around for you.
Take in the soundscape as you’re driven along, and you’ll find it’s a desolate yet beautiful, untameable place, crafted out of layers of largely instrumental (save a guest spot from Primitive Weapons’s David Castillo on ‘Haunches’) post-metal, sludge, drone and black metal. Warped samples and pedal loops weave in between battering walls of guitar noise and virtuoso drumming, screaming roiling clouds above you and thundering grey earth below. Pelican meets a pared down Krallice, really.
Throughout this finely tailored atmosphere, there’s a distinct sense of urgency that permeates the record. While most tracks barely break four minutes, at the same time, none of them feel rushed or compressed in any way. Even the two seven-minute tracks on this album – the ominous percussive ‘Slow Ruin’, and the clean pendulum swing of ‘Still Breathing’ – don’t seem that long.
A lot of bands make a study of the desolation of everyday life, but few manage to do it in so stark a manner. With a minimalist approach to samples and effects, using just what they need, there is an elegant sufficiency in the way Sannhet are able to conjure up such desolate landscapes within a short space of time. Simply put, not a millisecond is wasted here. It’s like the three minute pop song of instrumental post black metal. This has the effect of concentrating the atmosphere across the record, creating an album that’s unrelentingly dark. This record is so intense, it makes Winterfylleth’s last album sound like the LOTR soundtrack.
Incidentally, Sannhet is Norwegian for “truth” – in this case, a truth that’s brutal, unvarnished, uncompromised, and unrelenting. And within that lies true beauty.
Sounds Like: Skinny Post Black Metal To Go.
Standout Tracks: Slow Ruin, Flatlands, Still Breathing