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If there is one thing black metal has so beautifully portrayed in gilded, romantic light, it is isolation. Black metal celebrates the individual, but, above all else, the individual destroying the individual. Sacrifice, suicide, mutilation: these words all grace liner notes and interviews galore. The listener is meant to wallow in their own inner thoughts and depression, maybe even act on them, in hopes of finding this dark nirvana, just as those who performed did in creating the music.

Granted, most exceedingly negative black metal matches its darkness in sound. Most "suicidal" black metal, save for a few, sounds horrific, an audio representation of the nihilism and hatred which fueled its creation. As such, Totalselfhatred's 2008 debut stood out. Sure, it was "suicidal," as the name might imply, but it was hypnotic and lush, expressing this hateful self-denial through shimmering layers of beautiful sound. In the face of the "depressive" black metal scene of that era, now a decade ago, Totalselfhatred was unique, favoring musicianship and thoughtful composition over the harsh, Strid-esque monotony which defined it.

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Now, a decade later, Totalselfhatred emerges from a seven year slumber as an even more matured beast. However desperate and emotionally uncomfortable (this is suicide, after all), Solitude refuses to lose itself in histrionics, maintaining a strong footing and skyward posture. This element of time has certainly served the band well, and the long periods of thought and practice have resulted in an album which carries its enormity on light feet, being able to use these constant, massive harmonies without sacrificing dynamics. Each new moment propels itself into a new dimension of sound and emotion with such momentum and grace, it's easy to forget how despondent the actual music is… but that's how romanticizing works. The artist takes what they feel, what they want to project, and they make it seem larger than life.

Solitude will be released April 27th on Osmose Productions.

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