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Sertraline - The Street Was All We Needed Award winner

Sertraline
The Street Was All We Needed
by Barbie Rose at 16 February 2021, 1:09 AM

(Post) Black Metal of pithy, atmospheric, and emotional depth, SERTRALINE of Buffalo NY released their first full release entitled “The Street Was All We Needed” in January of 2020;  previous releases include the May 2017 E.P. release entitled “Shade”; the July 2019 release entitled “From Both Our Hands”; and the November 2019 release entitled “These Mills Are Oceans”. “Bloom” - the initial album track opens as an approximate two minute introduction to the release.  Listeners hear what I imagine is amplified feedback with extensive reverb.

“Azalia” - the second album track opens with a slow beat and slow bass line–while guitars quickly strum unmuted strings. Guitars, amidst the production open more fully to allow the distortion to simply ring - and this is enjoyable. Extensive “open ring” of distorted strings resounds within this song–and the metal head in me is on my metaphorical knees in homage. This tune is never fast - it’s not necessary, but this song is definitely a treat for those who simply love the sustaining sound of a fully distorted guitar.  This song is probably the closest to traditional Black Metal that I find on the album.

“Haze” - the third album track is an extremely short tune that opens with massive feedback perhaps together with keyboards. “Shade“ - the fourth album track opens with a full thrash eighth note drum beat pattern on the snare - opposed by the alternate subdivided beat upon the bass drum.  Rhythm patterns of the guitars strum quickly. Shortly after the first moment - the rhythmic pulse slows while guitars play open (unmuted) distorted chords with nicely disturbing bouts of dissonance. Much of which is a transfiguration of the minor third pivoting between its mediant role and becoming the root note of the next chord within the immediate progression. This stops at about four minutes - when all sound stops save clean (chorused) guitars.  Drums and bass enter beneath the guitar arpeggiation. Distorted rhythm guitars are added as are drums - all played at slower tempos but the intensity of this builds through a progressive crescendo - while the drums grow increasingly furious.

“Hounds Of Avarice” - the fifth album track opens with collective, amplified distorted guitar feedback, while cymbals more ceremoniously than ferociously roll and subtly crash. At about one minute - keyboards with pedal tones enter, doubled by the bass for the entrance of undistorted higher guitar strings.  One guitar double picks a slow melodic melody. Just after three minutes, heavily distorted rhythm guitars, together with cymbal crashes, enter as though to finalize the passing of an unknown but monumental grandeur. This passing moment endures for perhaps one and one half minutes–as collective amplified (distorted) feedback sustains;  the song, as previously mentioned at about the first minute resumes until the song ends - not without an awesome guitar sound.

“The Knowledge Of Trees” - the sixth album track opens with distorted rhythm guitars strumming unmuted resounding strings with ninth & suspended chords–pending resolutions or not; while drums beat feverishly, but not speedily, around the toms: this happily endures a bit longer than one minute–happily because I’m into it.  Drums play an eight note thrash style of snare to divide the beat. Before three minutes - the fury abates for an approximate thirty second bout into a descending minor progression, before resuming the former thrash style fury.  At fifteen seconds before the passing of four minutes - all fury again abates and the introduction is again presented but now the drums are more subdued.  I am truly enjoying the sound of the rhythm guitars here–as described in the beginning of this paragraph.

“Entwined” - the seventh album track opens with a slow tempo & drive and pleasantly mixes a heavy dose of bass into the overall sonority. A hell chorus via keyboards prevails the harmonic progression for about the first ninety seconds. The song then enters into a tree / four time feel that Ken Culton incorporates rests within triplets (YES - Thank YOU) along the snare patterns to accentuate a syncopated choppy fee–creating a beat that bursts with pops-n’chops and I’m-a’ diggin’ it;  he mixes this snare pattern well with his use of the bass drum - this is real music.  Rhythm guitars have both subtle double picking along higher strings - and a nice mix of distorted power chords along the lower strings.   At about three thirty seconds Ken Culton has a rhythmic conversation with Jack Roman - and I know I shouldn’t eavesdrop but they’ve truly piqued my interest.  While they didn’t directly call my name I feel as though I hear them; and when you hear them, you’ll feel they’ve called you too.   Great stuff!

“Eyes As Tableau” - the eighth album track begins with a faster tempo, but not an aggressive beat. Jason Roman’s bass line is a subtle mix of rhythm & melody - and perfectly compliments Ken Culton’s easy laid back beat–still the song hops. Guitar strings, presumably plucked with a pick, add the more somber notions of the morose–and do so without notable amounts of distortion, save other electronic effects like that of the Chorus.   The band classifies as post black metal - and the only notions that might seem in any way like Black Metal would be the morose connotation of the guitar use.  Just before one minute and a quarter - the aggression progression enters - which is a natural minor descent from the top of the scale. The song ends without guitar distortion.

“Their Cities” - the ninth album track opens with slightly distorted open high strings (does this reminisce BRUCE SPRINGSTEIN?)  “To the hum of the streetlights we danced / Under the viaduct we sang all night / To all the factories we would run and scream / And to the convenient store parking lots where we'd vow to see better days.”  At about a quarter past three minutes the song moves along lightly with a three feel, though not a scherzo, as Ken Culton plays a light dynamic appropriately accentuated snare pattern to perfectly capture the mood of a farewell - how loudly (not lewdly) sings the byronic verse in silence! To clarify - this text of LORD BYRON is not used, but the growling vocals amidst this teary-eyed recollective farewell prompted me to digress accordingly.

And now I'm in the world alone, Upon the wide, wide sea; But why should I for others groan, When none will sigh for me? Perchance my dog will whine in vain Till fed by stranger hands; But long ere I come back again He'd tear me where he stands”.

Shortly after four minutes pass - a sequence of four measures of four / four time pass; the first three beats of each measure are filled by a sixteenth note subdivision that pounds the floor tom to the beat - to segue into a thrash style snare beat pattern.  This intensity subdues again at about five minutes thirty seconds for about thirty seconds of wistful recollection. The tempo picks up again–and again Ken Culton adds interesting rhythmic variation patterns that are better heard by the eardrums than read.

“Prague” - the tenth and final album track begins on the root note on guitar & bass with vocals “aaahhh” (without auditory rearticulations) on the dominant (fifth scale degree - or as expressed through solfege symbol “Sol”).  By about fifty seconds, the bass rearticulates this quickly–and I believe the bass to be plucked–and this more percussive sorority is relevant - enhancing the sound like an approaching herd of buffalo.  By thirty seconds - a cymbal rolls crescendos–adding to the aura of something wicked this way comes. Vocals enhanced with reverb begin at about fifty seconds “Hanging from complacence / Seeking a renascent heart / I shall wander far from everyone / My wife, my kid, my home.” At about one minute fifty seconds drums add a slow subdued beat  while undistorted guitars convey a somber melody–replete with melodic chromaticism that enhances the somber tone. At about four minutes, rhythm guitars enter while Jason Roman’s Bass further divides the beat into a non-successive sixteenth note subdivision.  At about four minutes forty five seconds, drums begin to play trashy style eighth note successive divisions of the beat on the snare. At about five minutes twenty five seconds - rhythm guitars lead the sonorous mix with awfully pleasant subtle bouts of dissonance.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bloom
2. Azalia
3. Haze
4. Shade
5. Hounds Of Avarie
6. The Knowledge Of Trees
7. Entwined
8. Eyes As Tableau
9. Their Cities
10. Prague
Lineup:
Tom Meuhlbauer - Vocals
David Lopain - Guitars
Jay Zgoda - Guitars
Shelly Meuhlbauer - Guitars
Jason Roman - Bass
Ken Culton - Drums
Record Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records
     


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Edited 05 March 2021
 

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