Review Summary: It's all about your perceptionSo Numb
is an album that instantly draws you in with its towering concept: an intimate and solely instrumental study of life’s unavoidable suffering - but more importantly, the light that awaits us at the end of the tunnel. With the trio channeling their demons of addiction and mental health struggles into their music, Sannhet have unleashed a narrative-driven follow-up to Revisionist
that depicts a mother trying in vain to mask her son’s eyes from the world’s cold realities. Try as she may, her protective arm only encourages bad habits in her son, pushing him to seek comfort in the temporary shelters from the real world.
This is where So Numb
seems to operate: in those brief in-between moments when we escape our reality and just let go. For an album dealing with such heavy themes, it often feels more tranquil than it does dark. Even as the thundering drums and bass kick into overdrive on “Salts” or “Indigo Illusion”, there’s always a sense of beauty in the alluring instrumentation. Much of it, though, is near-impossible to describe. With a sound that dabbles in so many genres from post-rock to black metal, none of the songs feel firmly rooted to a specific style. “Secondary Arrows” has touches of classical with its warm, hushed piano; on the other hand, “Wind Up” is a unique ambient track full of vibrant, crashing sounds that loop in circles with ease. This sense of unpredictability and Sannhet’s precise attention to detail give So Numb
a riveting aura, despite some imperfections.
is – for better or for worse – what you perceive it to be. Everyone experiences suffering in a different way, so putting an album of this nature under scrutiny is a difficult task. Even so, it feels like the music could use an extra kick at times given the subject matter at hand. It’s a complex, gorgeous sounding album with a stirring theme, but the music is rarely melancholic or jarring enough to match life’s unspeakable sadness; instead, it seems to be a beacon of optimism during dark times. In many ways, it feels more relaxed and indirect than its predecessor, leaving plenty of room for your imagination to run wild. Gone are the bizarre dialogue snippets heard on “Revisionist”, but the soaring blackgaze elements on the title track and the minimalistic flow of “Fernbeds” prove just as captivating. How well the music ties into the concept is largely personal, but So Numb
is an absorbing collection of soundscapes and drones that allow you to escape reality – if only for a moment.