Published Mar 24, 2014Not all misery is created equal. Some is like a flat black hole, sucking everything good out of the world and permitting no light to escape; some is towering and destructive. But some suffering is so precise, so intricate, that the exact shades and contours of the pain become beautiful. It is with this landscape of awful loveliness in mind that Barren Harvest created Subtle Cruelties.
A collaboration between Lenny Smith of Atriarch and Jessica Way of Worm Ouroboros, the record is a delicate balance of deep, bloody shadows and cold points of light, unraveling at a hushed, almost sacred pace. The record feels sacrosanct, deeply private, as if the pain it explores were a kind of ritual or cleansing. Each texture and hue of sadness that the record captures is different: "Memoriam I" is resonant, almost meditative; "Coil Uncoil" has an undulating, writhing quality that doesn't struggle against pain so much as sink into it.
While our default reaction is often to avoid pain at all costs, Subtle Cruelties invites us to instead explore suffering, become intimate with it and be transformed by it. (Handmade Birds)