Black metal has never been known to be a poppy genre. Never has anyone confused black metal with being upbeat or jocular in its delivery. Even black metal bands like Cradle of Filth who’ve found some modicum of mainstream success still don’t inspire necessarily cheerful thoughts. Yet there are levels of bleakness when it comes to black metal. There is a depth of despair that certain bands are willing to dig deep for, willing to put aside all hope for anyone who enters their realm. One such band who lives up to their moniker is Suffering In Solitude.
Suffering In Solitude originated as a solo project in 2009 and since has become a trio blasting out numbers sure to send weaker souls running for the suicide prevention hotline. Their new full-length, A Place Apart, is a study in the juxtaposition between raw, unadulterated, lo-fi, first wave black metal and the more ambient and atmospheric sounds of the current post-black metal sound being exported from North American shores. It’s almost as if Suffering In Solitude are trying for a black metal history lesson in six tracks.
The album opens with the sombre instrumental, “Inside Out”, which evokes visions of the listener stumbling blindly through a vast and dense forest, about to come upon a cave filled with nothing but unflinching darkness – and that’s exactly what lies ahead. The album is full of scorched Earth moments, such as the track “Entrance”, where Suffering In Solitude does their best to channel their inner Darkthrone or Burzum circa 1993. But even in their most “kvlt” passages they never allow the ambiance of that opening track to fall too far behind, scattering other, lucid intervals throughout the madness. At the same time though, even in their seconds of respite, this band still has the ability to make despondency the listener’s new best friend. That proverbial cave you stumbled upon in the waning of the opening track? It’s a black hole of resolute wretchedness designed to swallow you whole if you allow it to.
A Place Apart is out now on Domestic Genocide Records. You can experience the bleakness yourself at the Suffering In Solitude Bandcamp page.