...

When the music actually bleeds, I'll be there to lap it up.

The core of metal, like all music, is emotion; certain emotional ranges, though, find exaggerated presences under metal's blistering light. Many point toward anger, and that's probably accurate albeit somewhat generalized, but frustration and aggression and loathing more specifically all showcase themselves especially vividly with metal. And while any album can be both joyous and angry, sanguine and effervescent, etc., one broad sense-feeling seems to emerge across strings of albums in given genres. This is why thrash metal finds suitable time differently than, say, doom metal, though what constitutes appropriate for a given setting or state of mind is all up to the individual. The point is that metal's broad emotional associations make sense but end up baked into a comfortable realm from which escape becomes ever more difficult.

Metal has a tendency to overdo it sometimes, and for me, I've realized that I find myself desensitized or oversaturated, or both, with its hyperbolic emotional content.

It was when I stumbled across Dessiderium on Bandcamp -- specifically, the self-titled opener from the solo project's upcoming release Shadow Burn -- that I came to the above realization. Musically, the album comprises high-octane melodic death metal with a seriously techy edge; immediately, I was expecting bog-standard tech-death emotionality i.e. the complete lack of emotionality or a totally overblown, fluorescent emotionality that might as well be absent anyway. Instead, project mastermind Alex Haddad wove so much of his heart into these songs that their feeling cries even louder than the sound itself.

The convergence of two things I love in metal but rarely find together -- blistering technicality and the gut-punch of real feelings -- really comes alive on this album. Haddad wrote it for a lost loved one that passed tragically in her early twenties, an experience rawer than anyone should have to bear. I will never claim to know his pain or understand his suffering, but it is plain that this music literally bursts from every seam with emotion of this extreme degree. Shadow Burn bleeds with it, actually, and the laid-bare love in Haddad's heart gives this album meaning beyond its artistic one.

But both meanings meld as one, though, nailing that perfect synergy very few metal albums I've heard have been able to achieve.

Dessiderium's music here isn't always "sad," or whatever more specific descriptor you want to use, though clearly there are moments of tension, frustration, and despair that fit perfectly within the album's arc and theme. Recalling past times with a lost loved one, for instance, doesn't always invite sadness; doing so sometimes brings back the pure joy of those experiences. There are moments on Shadow Burn so uplifting and revitalizing, downright poppy even, they radiate the warm light of cozy afternoons spent with a loved one. Memories are all we have, but music is far more permanent, and that's the honest beauty of Shadow Burn: the essence of someone real and now gone has been concreted into the echoes of eternity. It's not just about the loss, it's about the life, and that's really the bottom line of Shadow Burn.

Most heavy metal albums throw life into the void; this heavy metal, though, somehow yanks it right back out.

I'll leave it there. Shadow Burn wrenches your gut and blows your mind at once, and it's as life-giving and enriching as any metal I've ever heard. It rips hard, it really does, so just crank it. Stream "Cosmic Limbs" exclusively below, with two more singles available at the preorder link.

...

...

Shadow Burn releases June 25th; preorders are available via Bandcamp.

...

Support Invisible Oranges on Patreon and check out our merch.

...