Sadness "Ames de Marbre + Demo" Double LP
Reissue of the 1993 Swiss doom metal album on vinyl including their demos on LP 2.
(Description by J. Campbell)
Overlooked by many, yet highly revered by those familiar with the band's work, Sadness was a truly visionary project deserving of continued recognition. Hailing from Sion, Switzerland (the same town that spawned Samael, Misery, and Alastis), Sadness developed a sound that was as undeniably complex as it was unique. While the band may be most well known for its 1993 debut album "Ames de Marbre," Sadness began its crusade of hopelessness in 1991 with the release of the "Y" demo. The four tracks on that recording are excellent performances of Death Metal of the most morose variety. Like many of their peers emerging from Switzerland at that time, Sadness tended toward the slow and depressive. On the surface, these tracks seem to bear little resemblance to the band that Sadness would evolve into just a few years later. It was the rich sense of despair that drenches the songs on the "Y" demo, however, that would become the most intrinsic characteristic of the band's subsequent output. These earliest recordings of skillful and churning Death Metal also incorporated heavy doses of doom and an evil sensibility that revealed the band's Black Metal influences. With the second demo, entitled "Eodipus," Sadness began to move closer to the ethereal sound they would reach with their debut album while still retaining the heaviness associated with the first demo. Although "Eodipus" contained only two tracks, the songs were longer and more multidimensional than on the first demo. Enhanced production techniques allowed the band to thicken its sound and also add additional eccentricities. Clean guitars and female vocals underscored the dramatic character of Sadness' music augmenting its heaviness. These traits revealed that Sadness were beginning to draw influence from bands like Christian Death and other Deathrock and Gothic bands that were prevalent at the time. With their debut album, Sadness went even further in this direction weaving more atmosphere into their music. Very few Metal bands have ever succeeded in incorporating such dramatic elements into their music without sacrificing its character. Those that have succeeded, such as Finland's Unholy, for instance, have managed to broaden their approach without falling too far into the more garish and trite regions of the Gothic-Metal spectrum. With "Ames de Marbre" the band adeptly explored territory within Metal that had, to that point, remained obscure. Indeed, there are points on that album when it is unclear whether the band is even playing metal or not. Instead of being confined within the usual trappings of the genre, Sadness attempted to find the core of the spirit associated with Metal and other expressions of ruination and sorrow. Facilitated by the inclusion of strings, haunting vocals, macabre keyboard sounds, and spoken word passages, Sadness created an album that stands outside the constraints of any genre classification with portions of the album even bordering on neo-folk at times. (See, for instance, the impeccable instrumental entitled "Tristessa" which, with its use of woodwind instruments, sounds reminiscent of Dead Can Dance.) Although the eccentric pieces of the music are the most striking, no listener can deny the effect of the Death and Black Metal passages on this album. Tracks such as "Lueurs," "Opal Vault," and "Red Script" (a re-recorded track from the "Eodipus" demo) all vividly capture the band's capabilities. Clearly though, Sadness sought to attain something more grandiose than an ordinary Death or Black Metal album and did so in an extraordinary manner. This reissue provides crucial documentation of a band that essentially carved out an entire sub-genre of its own. None of the releases that are collected here have been previously issued on vinyl. The demo material, especially elusive to collectors, represents the band's most traditional work. It should be noted that the existing copies of the "Y" demo are all, for the most part, in poor condition. For this reissue, the band uncovered the least degraded copy they could find and Iron Tyrant records had it mastered and cleaned up to the extent possible. The result is an imperfect, yet highly listenable preservation of an important demo that has been nearly lost and forgotten. The "Ames de Marbre" LP displays the fruition of Sadness' instrumental experimentation and emotional exploration. Reviewed collectively, this body of work, conceived and executed over the course of just 3 years, reveals a depth that so few bands in the metal genre have been successful at achieving. Iron Tyrant's reissue will hopefully ensure that the timelessness of Sadness' work is regarded again in the context of the trends which have come and gone since these recordings were made.