An extraction of the restless inner self.
There’s just something about public transport. Somehow riding a train has a somewhat therapeutic effect on me. It can make me observe the matters I’d be shy of, opens me up to the delicate sounds of the human voice and mostly it allows me to dissect layer after layer whilst in the middle of listening to an album. I was writing this on one, during my 40 minute ride home with An Age Among Them enhancing my thoughts.
The sounds invading my ears were of the brutal kind, brutally honest and brutally heavy. Walls of sound testing the indulgence of my eardrums, emotion-soaked vocals digging up these that I’ve masterfully learned to bury deep inside. It’s quite peculiar how extreme music – and by all means, this is extreme in a wider spectrum – can abhor some and soothe others.
And although I’ve made a habit of reviewing mostly the obscurest of obscure albums, this one’s a little more well-known. And deservedly so. What the members of Rinoa do so well, is what we all want to but find us more often than not incapable of. To evoke those feelings deep inside that others can only try to bring to words, but utterly fail.
Somehow, which is hard to describe, this music speaks to me. Yet, their formula is actually a really generic one: create walls of sound with hammering sludge effects and add a little post-hardcore tinged screams to that. Alternating with a little ambient and low-key guitar interplay, this delivers to the urge of a quick ‘feels’ fix. While the guitars don’t tread new paths, their dynamics and progression strike you at just the right moment. A quality that is neglected too often.
As with so many matters in life, sincerity also, is the secret ingredient here. The vocals resemble the inner scream that is perceptible on the outside. These unclean vocals aren’t perfect by any means: range is rather low and they are not as piercing as they could’ve been. But they preach, they preach a fight with oneself. A fight that’s safer to be placed outside your mind.
Each and every single human being has a wide range of emotions inside of them, shaped by our everyday encounters. For those a little familiar with the working of the human brain, our brain works energy-efficient and chooses to neglect those memories that harm us, where possible. Meaning, the most heart-wrenching emotions will linger beneath the surface of your explicit memory. Sigmund Freud was the founding father of the technique that therapists try to use their best, but never really succeed.
For me -and I refuse to speak for all of us, since there’s a basic habituation necessary to learn to appreciate certain sounds of the musical spectrum the way Rinoa crafted their music- this music provides the key to certain locks of my brain. It lets me bring forth the anger, sorrow and – yes- joyful hope that I’ve experienced. Granted, I was willing to.
An Age Among Them is an album surely to not leave you unaffected. Its ubiquitous almost bombastic tone circles you, to embrace and slowly massaging you until you feel something. All to see the sun.