"Carlos would hum this track to his little girl while putting her to sleep, which is a very personal and very beautiful thing to share and incorporate into an album. It’s a moment of enchantment and deep affection buried carefully amongst the hardship and sorrow that overwhelms Gehenna"
I am a huge fan of the Spanish multi-instrumentalist, Carlos Herrera. Since first hearing Non Somnia’s music back in the summer of 2021, I was hooked. His ability to emotionally connect with you through dark, solemn atmospherics and dense black-gazed passages gave his music a heartbeat, albeit scorched and broken. I reviewed his album last year, Stella Meae, and I quote “Non Somnia have an incredible understanding of melody, drama and suspense. This is something that an artist needs to feel and experience to be able to put these emotions to music, and there is no shortage of that here”. Well I stand by that and if I was to add to it, I would say that Non Somnia has built on those foundations and has created a piece of bleak, post-rock magnificence in the shape of Gehenna.
The album opens with sombre piano keys that immediately reach into your chest and carefully cradle your heart for the opening track, Feels Cold When Blood Leaves You. Its melancholic tones are somehow warm and comforting, however, the track soon erupts into a swell of post-black atmospherics, weaving a chilling melody of sorrow and loss. That cradled organ deep in your chest begins to tense up and constrict, until those moody piano keys bring peace once more, this time, accompanied by a brooding violin, allowing blood to flow once again. The music ebbs and flows from calm keys to a caustic black-gaze wall of sound. A truly beautiful opening track.
Road to Osorezan is a heavy and scowling track with its tremolo opening and its fuzzy rhythm guitars filling the void. Rumbling drums bring on an emotional violin that soaks up all the atmosphere as its bow scrawls across the strings. The tempo drops as the music provides solace and respite before being thrown back into that blackened post-rock frenzy with more tremolo guitars wailing and soaring above the gloom. Another fantastic piece of dark, emotive music.
Last Leaf Falling is similar to what went before it, all the time dripping in sentiment and intensity, while pushing your senses to the limit as the music oscillates through all levels of emotion. That emotion only intensifies when Lullaby for Noa, part 1 comforts you and brings calm and slumber. Carlos would hum this track to his little girl while putting her to sleep, which is a very personal and very beautiful thing to share and incorporate into an album. It’s a moment of enchantment and deep affection buried carefully amongst the hardship and sorrow that overwhelms Gehenna. It also lays the foundation for Lullaby for Noa, part 2, which continues the rich warm keys of part 1, only to explode into a grand, expansive post-rock crescendo that leaves a lump in the throat.
The Abyss Talked About Hope and Like Summer Rain are awash with majestic and grandiose moments of post-black beauty and post-rock perfection that build and climb with bloodied fingertips to the mountains crest, to that celestial plateau and its endless expanse. A place where the music is soothing and where the mind and body are re-energised, a place we all need to go to and find inner peace.
The closing track on Gehenna, Of Moon And Sun moves in different circles to Like Summer Rain, in the sense that it bathes in fuzzy, blackened guitars and distant, silent screams that conjure up moments of another amazing solo project, Violet Cold. It's bitter and it bites and shows the vast array of layers and textures that make up Non Somnia. It's always atmospheric and always absorbing, and soaks up every emotion that it can find.
As you all probably know by now, I’m a huge advocate of Bandcamp and I always push people to go there and get lost in its musical labyrinth, however I found Non Somnia through a different platform last year. Instagram is becoming a great source for new music, and bands are working this social to the max, using it as the gateway to share music clips, videos, artwork and reviews of upcoming albums. Its another treasure trove of up-and-coming bands and musicians. If the standard there is anywhere near the quality of Non Somnia, then its somewhere we all need to be. Gehenna is being released this week, so whatever platfrom you use, be sure to check it out.