AlbumL Portraits of Personal Darkness
Label: Hessian Firm
Release Date: 26/02/2022
Italy’s Sinoath return with yet another offering of genre blurring music. Their upcoming release Portraits of Personal Darkness will be out this Saturday through our good friends over at Hessian Firm.
For anyone who is familiar with the band’s early works such as Still In The Grey Dying or Research, this is a very different Sinoath. The band now hold the title of progressive rockers. Having said that, this isn’t your run of the mill prog rock, this is classic Italian horror score influenced psychedelic prog rock with a DIY feel to it. There’s a sort of gothic, dark ambient, doomy tone and essence to the whole release, expressed through the prism of classic 70s style prog rock. There’s almost a vintage sort of feel to the sound of the album, as if it was recorded in a DIY manner. This adds to that gothic feel, the rawness of the sound and its unpolished nature. The reverb and distortion applied to the album further build upon this energy and tone.
As the album cover suggests there are clear horror and occult themes running throughout the album. These are clearly expressed more in some tracks than others. The band achieve this through the tones and textures they employ, as well as the haunting and distorted spoken word vocal elements featured at times. Backing this up are elements such as distorted haunting saxophone that echoes and pierces through the mix on the album, weaving in and out of focus. Surrounding all of this is heavily layered synth elements that bring a whole new level of atmosphere to the mix. All of this is on full display on track 4 Cogito Ergo Doom.
There are however numerous other tracks where this gothic tone takes a back seat and the music leans more towards a 60s psychedelic rock vibe. Track 5 Let It Be Something is a perfect example of this. If nobody had told me when this was recorded, I would have guessed at some point in the late 60s, maybe early 70s tops.
You’ll find more psyched out, high energy experimental stuff on tracks like From the Clash of the Planets. Some songs such as The Recurring Ghost have a fairly chaotic feel to them. This really does neatly tie together the whole 70s prog rock vibe and reminds me of some of those songs on my favourite Emerson Lake & Palmer albums (along with countless other acts of course). The album even includes a cover song by Italian progressive dark cult band JACULA (U.F.D.E.M.) from 1972 (a band that I was not familiar with prior to listening to this release).
Overall, the album was one hell of a listen, particularly because I happen to love old school progressive and psychedelic rock. This one really ticked a lot of my boxes and if I’m being honest kind of caught me off guard. I was not expecting to enjoy the album quite as much as I did.
Listen to and order the album: