ON THEIR 2013 ALBUM, Known Flood, Brooklyn band Sannhet presented a dense, dark vision of post-metal. It was a vision where drums rumble and roil as buzzy guitar riffs burrow deep into the band's sonic thicket, refusing to come up for air.
By comparison, the trio's lauded follow-up—Revisionist, released on the Flenser label in March—is a respite from Known Flood's heavy gloom. Here, AJ Annunziata anchors Sannhet's attack with more melodic bass lines that reflect his post-punk influences, while guitarist John Refano explores his shoegaze appreciation. Revisionist sounds like a restless Russian Circles, or the heaviest moments of Godspeed You! Black Emperor stretched across an entire album.
"Going down the more heavy route... I think it was getting a little boring," Refano says. "We've all played in metal bands, and it's kind of a typical thing for a band to keep trying to [make] every album more crushing than the last one, and more brutal and more grim. I think we've let a little bit of our other influences come through on this one.
"I don't think we intentionally tried to drastically change the sound of the band," he adds, "but I certainly think we had more interest this time around in trying to add a little more light shining through the cracks."
Smart move. While Known Flood received positive reviews, Revisionist's heavy melodicism set off a relative avalanche of attention for Sannhet, whose members (drummer Christopher Todd rounds out the lineup) all have day jobs. They recorded Revisionist with no label lined up and no expectations, Refano says.
"Of course, when you're making music, you hope that people will connect with it, but I certainly didn't feel any kind of pressure or expectation that this was somehow going to be a big deal," he says. "I don't know if it even is a big deal, but it certainly feels bigger than the first album, and I'm thankful for that."
Sannhet stops in Portland on Saturday for an early-evening show as part of its first West Coast tour, a six-date run with labelmates King Woman and Planning for Burial. Speaking of which, Refano is also thankful for his band's new relationship with the Flenser, the Bay Area label that has become a leading tastemaker for this kind of music.
"I feel like we fit right in," he says with a laugh. "I don't know, us fitting in somewhere is not the easiest thing, so it's nice to fit in somewhere."