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Album #306: Sadness – I Want to Be There

  • Released: 2019
  • Origin: Oak Park, Illinois, USA
  • Label: Self-released
  • Best Track: I Want to Be With You

I saw this album discussed on a Facebook post listing particularly sad albums. Something about it made me want to listen – maybe the bluntness of the name ‘Sadness’, the hazy image on the front, and the directness of the album name.

Sadness is a one-man band, Damian Ojeda, and he seems a pretty prolific man too. According to Discogs, he’s brought out 21 albums since 2014, and even allowing for some of them being split albums with other acts, that is pretty phenomenal productivity.

The most recent of them, Alluring the Distant Eye, came out in March 2020. I had a listen to that one but wasn’t quite feeling it, so reverted to I Want to Be There from last year, and found something that certainly struck a chord.

This is six tracks of pretty epic black metal/shoegaze. The guitars are deafening and mesmerising, with the roared vocals somehow both cutting and blending in with all the tumult. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before, but it is well produced for a self-released album, and interjects one or two nice surprises, like the female vocalists in ‘I Want to Be With You’ to freshen things up. I can’t even work out whether they’re singing in English, or have heavy foreign accents, but it doesn’t matter – it’s beautiful.

As for the sadness of Sadness, I’ve heard sadder music like Joy Division, some of Nick Cave’s work, and American slowcore bands like Low and Red House Painters bringing in the doom in the ’90s. Nonetheless, this is a moving and powerful work.

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