Review: Self Hypnosis “Contagion of Despair” [Svart Records]

Review: Self Hypnosis “Contagion of Despair” [Svart Records]

- in Reviews

The project of Esoteric musicians Greg Chandler and Kris Clayton Self Hypnosis this year has released their debut album “Contagion of Despair” via the Finnish well-known extreme label Svart, preparing for it two years. It’s useless to draw an analogy from Esoteric, Self Hypnosis involves completely different musical paths, experimenting with the sound and styles in attempts to find their unique sounding.

Like much of the doom metal albums, this release isn’t an exception with regards to its length, it lasts one hour and 17 minutes, and certain tracks are nearly 20 minutes. Despite the fact, that doom metal is quite monotonous genre, Self Hypnosis tried to engage the elements of progressive, industrial, ambient, death and sludge metal, making the release not only diverse, but also providing it with a tinge of experimental color. Although, some passages are very long and repetitive, the mood changes quite often, and that’s why the music doesn’t sound boring and predictable. The multi-instrumentalist Greg (the composer of the songs) was able to convey through his music the sense of despair and hopelessness, and both philosophical lyrics and somber and bleak cover art point out, how contagious desperation is by its very nature, becoming at critical junctures the collective sensation.

The album starts in a classical doom metal manner, but very soon it divides into unspecified segments under the integral mood of composition. At first the structure of the song is based on one primitive guitar riff, and then follows the next low-tuned guitar passage, and then the psychedelic chords emerge, and finally the song ends again with a traditional doom metal transition. Almost every lengthy song is constructed like the first song “Contagion”, but every one of them contains its own surprises, entwined with different stylistic shifts. The tempo of the album varies from slow to incredibly slow, but the fastest is the short “Scandal”, and the “Succumbed” is a typical funeral doom metal piece, mournful and grim. “Omission” with fuzzy sludge sound is also rich with unexpected moments, like acoustic dreamy passages, ambient elements and minimalistic approach. The synths in the song “Contagion” remind of progressive rock of the 1970s, on the “Empowered (Restricted)” there is synthetic cosmic influence, but on “Omission” and “Divided” can be heard a beautiful piano, making these songs sadder and more restrained. Considerable attention is paid to singing techniques – screaming, growling and emotional shrieks, closer to recitative style. The album ends up with a most mournful and depressed composition, leaving behind the dismal devastation.

The music of Self Hypnosis differs from what Greg makes in Esoteric, but the band of Chris Camels of Doom is far more loyal to experiments and unusual turns, so here they both were able to unite their extraordinary visions on this dark progressive album “Contagion of Despair”, throwing the listener into murky waters of the abyss.

Release date: August 21st, 2020

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About the author

I am into metal music from the school times, started from traditional genres, and now exploring the experimental scene. I'm also interested in modern architecture and contemporary art.

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