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Negative or Nothing - Drowned - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, February 23rd, 2021
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Careless Records (Digipak)

Chile has produced quite a bunch of interesting albums over the past years and one of my latest finds are Negative of Nothing. Meanwhile this band is consisting of only two guys, one playing the drums and the other one contributing everything else. Both of them have also been active in some other Chilean projects so it should not come as surprise that their second full length “Drowned” is a very mature and competently performed piece of music. In fact this album is absolutely fascinating, as the deeper feelings of more fragile depressive black metal are combined with dark and occult moments.

This is a strong album, manifesting dark emotions of failure, reject and self-hatred consistently throughout the 34:47 minutes running time. Much of these empty feelings are portrayed by the astonishing guitar work. The employing of tremolo pickings among other simple but effective techniques has is toned down, and the guys really set the tone of the music with their impeccable songwriting and masterful balance of melody and subtle aggression. The tempo is slowed down for larger parts, but can surge up at a whim in a few moments, with stellar harmonies and torturous screams providing assistance. There are a lot of acoustic and ambient passages sprinkled over the whole album, highlighting the strongly melancholic nature of it.

Like a lot of the releases of this particular sub-genre this album can become an uncomfortable listening experience at times, dragging the consumer through the void and back again. The guitar riffs found here aren't too complex or fast paced, but they still manage to keep a fascinating and hypnotic tone and add to the captivating melodies, accompanied by the steady percussions and the desperate vocals. Some of the harmonies might take a while until they are going to grab the listener, but once this is the case you cannot escape the hypnotic fascination.

Deeply atmospheric, the songs use a black metal base to craft highly emotive music, weaving esoteric moods and blackened tapestries with ease. This is music that’s richly textured with nuance and subtlety, even when it gets a bit more aggressive at times. On top of that you are going to find the desperate vocals howling through space and time, carrying the mournful lyrics. The production is spot on, underlining the somehow avantgarde-like nature of the music. “Drowned” is an album that might need a bit of time to get into and you full attention when consuming it, but it is absolutely worth it. Fantastic music!