Review Summary: Therapy for the Soul
Since August 2014 the prolific Sorrow Plagues has released two EPs and two singles. On these releases, waves of sound and droned static mixed with vocal purges of emotion like an opening of the floodgates of one's soul. Semblances of somber contentment and melody peaked through the harsh noise. Now, the one man melodic black metal project has released his first full length album and it's his fullest realization yet.
The first thing past listeners will notice is the new production style. The static is still alive and well, but while the earlier releases were shrouded in it, here the instruments triumphantly stand strong as the driving force for emotion. Sweet symphonic melodies are the lifeblood of the album and are basically the musical focus. Guitars and basses are meant to be noticed only for the atmosphere they create, aside from guitar leads that sound like an innocent child first discovering the world. The vocals are high shrieks that sit back in the mix. They sound vicious, but feel understanding and surprisingly relatable. Soft atmospheric sections give time to reflect. Build ups explode into pourings of emotional fury. Blasting drums make way for post rock gorgeousness and piano pieces. The harmony has both a pleasantness and power. Just don't expect the music to have any intention of conventionally dazzling the listener. The symphonic heartbeat repeats and evolves slowly. The music progresses in sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic ways, but most of all, it takes its time. This is simply a vessel for the soaking in and letting out of feelings.
With this release Sorrow Plagues makes a case for the list of notable black metal albums of the year. He has made a progression with his unique style, taking his rather homogenous sound and coupling it with more melody, clearer production, more varied songwriting, and more hopeful tones. Frankly, here he demonstrates a level of songwriting I didn't know he was capable of. The evolution of this music mirrors the evolution of one's life. From earlier, bleaker works like An Eternity of Solutide
, Drown in Silence
, and The Depths of Emptiness
to this new album with Aspirations
, and Redemption
, the message and tone reflect this change. Acknowledging the sorrows of the past, but using it to strengthen and empower, accepting the hardship of existence as something we all feel, knowing it is time to push forward, and creating the most beauty you can with your life. Twilight
are recommended for those just wanting a taste of the album, but it can't hurt to just jump in. This work contains waves of heart-wrenching feelings. It envelopes the candid act of allowing all of your deepest struggles out of your body, and rising from the emotional ashes with a new sense of empowerment.