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Black Dresses - Forever in Your Heart Music Album Reviews

Black Dresses - Forever in Your Heart Music Album Reviews
After their sudden dissolution last year, the Toronto noise duo return just as suddenly with a new album. Like their previous work, it’s full of pain, dissociation, and hopelessness—and surprisingly, a new tranquility.

There’s a lot of pain, death, and destruction in the music of the Toronto noise duo Black Dresses. Across four full-lengths—as well as a smattering of EPs and other projects—Devi McCallion and Ada Rook detailed horrors both personal and cosmic, worrying about the end of the world and wondering how to trudge onward when it felt like everything was caving in. And yet, they always did. Rook put it memorably in the opening moments of their 2020 album Peaceful as Hell. “Even in the depths,” she sings. “I treasure everything that we’ve become.”
And then the project ended, or so it seemed. In May 2020, Black Dresses posted a statement on Twitter suggesting that the band would “no longer exist” as a result of “harassment” that McCallion had experienced from fans. It was a shocking announcement, given both those circumstances and the timing, just a few weeks after the release of Peaceful as Hell. But the bright-burning energy of their music—steadfast and focused—couldn’t stay extinguished for long. As suddenly as they broke up, they returned this year with Forever In Your Heart—a new album full of static-scoured and wounded reflections on the troubling present and unknowable future.

Like a lot of Black Dresses’ work, Forever In Your Heart can seem bleak. Especially in contrast to Peaceful as Hell, which found the duo dabbling in the swirling neons of a new industrial-pop sound, this new record is often heavier and more upsetting, full of digital hardcore, damaged metal riffs, and shrieking electronics. They sing about dissociation, hopelessness, and anguish, but they do so in a way that feels cathartic and transformative. It’s the sound of overcoming, of finding beauty amid the maelstrom.

The record even considers the possibility, however unlikely, that all the suffering they describe might reach an end. It’s a distant thought, buried in the distorted squeals of songs like “PEACESIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” on which Rook murmurs apocalyptic visions of messages from God burning in the clouds. Amid twisted industrial metal riffing—which underscores Rook’s avowed appreciation for Slipknot—they ponder what life would be like in a better world. “Could we make something beautiful?” Devi wonders. The ache in her voice suggests the answer, but the fact that she’s even asking implies a distant faith. Later, on the blown-out shoegaze ballad “Waiting42moro,” Rook offers a hopeful echo: “I can almost see, I can almost taste, I can almost touch that better place.”

It may seem surprising given the noisy, harsh tangles of their songs, but tranquility has become a recurring theme in Black Dresses’ music. And as much as Forever In Your Heart emphasizes the duo’s heaviest impulses, it makes room for quiet moments too. There’s moments of intimate studio chatter—like on “Silver Bells,” when McCallion tenderly interjects “Are you ok?” after a particularly grueling scream—and minimal ballads like “Mistake.” In the record’s closing lines, McCallion sums up her feelings with a sigh. “I couldn’t keep it together,” she sings. “But it’s not that bad.” So they’ll keep pressing on, just like they always have.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Black Dresses - Forever in Your Heart Music Album Reviews Black Dresses - Forever in Your Heart Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, March 03, 2021 Rating: 5

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