So Hideous
None But a Pure Heart Can Sing


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sowing STAFF
December 8th, 2021 | 42 replies


Release Date: 12/03/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Haunting, ominous, and beautiful...all at the same time.

I’m not well-versed in the realm of avant blackened post-hardcore, but something about So Hideous’ third LP – None But a Pure Heart Can Sing – feels special. Maybe it’s the way they incorporate both blistering intensity and cinematic orchestration in equal measures. Perhaps it’s how this thing can feel so breathtakingly gorgeous in one moment, but then anxious and deeply unsettling in the next. Detractors will question how well they blend these aesthetics into a structured commodity, which is fair, but the opposite magnetic pulls on display are also part of what makes the experience so jarring and unpredictable. None But a Pure Heart Can Sing comes at you from all directions, and you’re never quite sure whether So Hideous are about to usher you to a safe haven or shove you over a cliff ledge. The uncertainty is exhilarating.

Such dichotomy is immediately on display with ‘Souvenir’, which comes roaring in like a barrel of TNT via Christopher Cruz’s tortured screams (atop some particularly dissonant electric guitar riffing) before it all plunges into a sea of electronically-washed percussion and eerie synth melodies. The song’s harsh beginning boomerangs, returning after a slight lull with even greater force only this time accompanied by a powerful string section. None But a Pure Heart Can Sing is largely driven by such pendulum swings – whether it’s ‘Motorik Visage’ going from black metal to string swept experimental drumming or ‘Intermezzo (3)’ abruptly fading into adrift, meandering pianos halfway through its runtime. The best integration of all the band’s strengths probably occurs on ‘The Emerald Pearl’, which commences with the soft glow of acoustic guitars before launching into a propulsive rhythm section, a full-blown orchestra, and even a saxophone solo which is accompanied by gut-wrenching screams and a barrage of black metal-styled drums. It’s every bit as weird as it sounds, but it’s all so well-executed and dynamic that it never alienates the listener. That’s basically So Hideous’ calling card – they’ll take you out of your comfort zone, but never without taking you somewhere even better in the process.

There’s a fine line in experimental music that artists must toe in order to be successful. When things become too jumbled and incoherent, the “art” loses what made it music in the first place and it becomes work to listen to. The best forward-thinking musicians learn where that line is and consistently tease it, grazing the threshold with tantalizing outside-the-box concepts while anchoring their craft with something cogent. I believe So Hideous achieve that temperate balance here, thus yielding a product that feels unique on its face without sacrificing the joy of being able to put a record on and simply rock out to it. None But a Pure Heart Can Sing is a little bit post-everything, but at no point is it ever past the point of being enjoyable.




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user ratings (101)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
December 8th 2021


40007 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sorry for the glorified soundoff, but I wanted to highlight this release before users submit their 2021 lists.

DarkNoctus
December 8th 2021


11785 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i really wanted to like this but it's just not for me. it's definitely impressively constructed but it just doesn't resonate. hats off to them for totally changing their sound up all the same!



it's tough to rate a record you can tell is good but you don't actually like haha

Sowing
Moderator
December 8th 2021


40007 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree that it's very impressive; part of me agrees with Slex's soundoff which is why I didn't rate this higher, but there were too many "wow" moments for me to rate it lower than a 4.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2021


3222 Comments


The first sentence is news to me, I always took you for an avant blackened post-hardcore expert, Sowing!

Nice review, not planning on checking this album though.



SteakByrnes
December 8th 2021


25935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

blackened post hardcore you say...



gonna have to give this a whirl

Digging: Kaizo Slumber - The Kaizo Manifesto

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2021


16148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Threw this on yesterday. This is a wonderful release. It has the bold nuance that I can only liken to Thy Catafalque. Really glad this got a review

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2021


1748 Comments


Nice review. Even though you've been up to all kinds of listening this year I didn't expect this to be a Sowing joint. Loved that single, v excited to spin

Shiranui
December 8th 2021


846 Comments


The string section in Motorik Visage is really beautiful, but i fail to see how this is connected with basically everything that's leading up to that, especially the intro theme. Though i will say I'm proud of them for using the Devin Townsend chord at the end.

zaruyache
December 8th 2021


24858 Comments


I forgot about this one O: cheqing tmrw!

icatchthirtythree
December 9th 2021


1045 Comments


loving this - plus its short so it's nice and replayable

Pikazilla
December 9th 2021


20569 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this band seems to get progressively worse with each album

SteakByrnes
December 9th 2021


25935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apparently I've heard the debut and gave it a 4, I don't remember it at all lmao

WalrusTusk
December 9th 2021


1136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was not ready for that sax in "The Emerald Pearl". This is pretty fun.

Josh D.
December 10th 2021


16982 Comments


Just checked out that song, rad as hell.

SlumRight67
December 10th 2021


20 Comments


Wow yes thanks, Album really is beautiful, this year is good, thank You thank You

SlumRight67
December 10th 2021


20 Comments


Every song is pleasant, I have so many tastes from these, I may listen so many times, to plunge into those pleasing unique orifices again, I should also mention, that the songs like being encased inside a delightful box made of wood souvenir made from the fairy, who fancying chocolat,
In the sense of food, it is like Japanese sushi being packaged, but true sushi rarity,

Evreaia
December 10th 2021


5340 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

single wasn't good, the last album wasn't good, I'm not sure why I expected this to be good..



the downward spiral continues

Josh D.
December 10th 2021


16982 Comments


lol everyone dislikes this, I find it pretty fun

Zackkkk
December 10th 2021


154 Comments


A lot less cinematic Mono vibes on this one. I’m glad they switched it up, but this one sounds like it’ll be a grower to me.

WalrusTusk
December 10th 2021


1136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really enjoyed this. It took some twists and turns that I didn't expect but the whole thing works as one cohesive statement. Don't know what y'all are on about.



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