Negativa – 03
Reviewed: November, 2018
Released: 2018, Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The aptly titled 03 is the third full length from Spanish Depressive Black Metal mysterios Negativa, and as you might expect from such an optimistic moniker, this album is like an emotional black hole. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s devoid of any hope, and yet it feels so good to be swallowed into this sonic abyss.
Negativa’s entire presentation is all about dehumanization. Their albums and songs are each titled simply by chronology, the individual participants reside in the shadows and are known only through initials, and physical pressings of 03 were limited to 100 pro-dubbed cassettes, the most dehumanizing medium of all. In all seriousness though – the six tracks included here reflect a work ethic that’s both stark and minimalist, but without resorting to the typical reverb swathed jangly riffs shtick that so many like-minded acts in the genre fall back on. Rather, Negativa creates a robust musical universe through unnerving guitar passages and well-crafted song structure that allows the music to create the ghostly atmosphere vs. being an after effect of the mood.
Though the individual components of 03 all stand on their own merit, the album is best consumed (and likely intended) as a whole. The brooding nihilism grows as each track progresses, almost creating a trance like state, until XXII closes the procession with a discordant implosion of everything. Sufficed to say, it’s really well done.
The run of 100 cassettes sold out in only 3 weeks, but digital copies of 03 are available through Negativa’s Bandcamp page for the mere price of (wait for it…) €3. That’s 3 Euros or 3 bucks and change for our North American friends, which is more than a fair price for such an impressive release. If you take your metal the way you would a stale cup of coffee (cold, bitter, and black), you are in for a treat with 03.