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Track Premiere: Negativa – “XX”

DB, the multi-instrumentalist behind Spanish depressive black metal project Negativa, apparently isn’t the sort who cares much for unnecessary frills in terms of the presentation of his music. Instead of titles, all of his songs are designated by Roman numeral. The five splits Negativa has done with fellow Spaniards Atrabilis are all named for the years in which they were released, also in Roman numerals. The longer releases are all given numerical titles as well, but with Arabic numbers.

And that’s how we got to “XX,” the centerpiece of Negativa’s second full-length 03, which we’re premiering here today at the Vault. Fair warning, though – if you saw ‘depressive’ up above and hit play expecting to hear something along the lines of Totalselfhatre or Make a Change…Kill Yourself, that’s not what you’re going to find here. Nothing against either of those bands, both of whom I actually really like, but there’s nothing ‘pretty’ about DB’s approach to the genre.

See, the numbers are more than just some sort kind of systematic way of organizing the material. It’s his way of depersonalizing his music. What can you read into a number? Not a whole lot. What do those numbers tell you about the individual behind the project? Virtually nothing. Which means that with Negativa, there’s essentially nothing to go on except the music – the deeply tormented, relentlessly bleak, and fucking glorious music.

One of the strengths of DB’s songwriting is the way he’s able to blend together varying shades of the same mood in each song. For example, “XX” comes tremolo-and-blasting it’s way out of the gate, but it isn’t long before it transitions away from that into a sparser section of slightly dissonant arpeggios played at a woozy, waltz-like tempo. But it doesn’t stay there–or anywhere else, really–for all that long. The structure breaks down, it builds back up – the riffs get in your face, and then pull back again – and instead of resolving, it just kind of dissipates before the sickly shiver induced by vocalist H.V. Lyngdal’s (Wormlust, Mystískaos) final anguished wail has finished making its way down your spine.

03 will be available on October 19 on white-shell, pro-dubbed cassettes (limited to 100) from Sentient Ruin Laboratories (preorder here), and on CD from Nebular Carcoma Records (preorder here). Go snag one while you’re being crushed by the emotional weight of “XX.”

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