Sarin Offer Post-Metal Catharsis on 'You Can't Go Back'

BY Mark TremblayPublished Feb 1, 2021

After a three year absence, Toronto post-metal outfit Sarin return with their third full-length record, You Can't Go Back. Having long drifted away from their Hydra Head Records influence, Sarin find themselves creating some of the most uplifting music in post-metal. While the album explores lyrical concepts of growth amidst personal strife, Sarin create a sonic soundscape that is cathartic in ways unlike many of their peers.

You Can't Go Back builds itself up through series of distinctive guitar riffs that usher in emotive new movements throughout the album. From the heavy beginning of "Cold Open," the chugs on "Thick Mire," or the guitar solo of "Leave Your Body," the riffs operate in ways that are both crushingly heavy and melodic. Perhaps the most spectacular moment on the record is the build-up on "When You Melt"; the slow growth of shimmering guitar parts that form into a chunky plod is an emotional rollercoaster like no other. You Can't Go Back is an excellent showcase of how post-metal can use riffs to set mood.

Compared to Sarin's prior records, this album is surprisingly sparse in actual lyrics and vocal moments throughout. There are not many spots on the album where vocals would elevate or add to the music, which makes the few moments where they're expertly employed hit that much harder. Guitarist and vocalist David Wilson channels his inner Aaron Turner to deliver vocals that are harsh yet clear. The atonal yells balance nicely against the album's more melodic arrangements.

Sarin's You Can't Go Back is a post-metal album that breaks from the stereotypes of the genre with great success. The music has an immense amount of emotion without getting bogged down by slow pace and the minor chord progressions that can make post-metal repetitive. Music does not always have to be sad to make one feel strongly, and You Can't Go Back showcases this through various means.

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