In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You
November 21, 2023
From their record label’s website, “lyrically, the album is an exploration of the hardships encountered whilst navigating interpersonal relationships through the static of Borderline Personality Disorder. The loose narrative structure follows a narrator character who finds himself trapped in a series of unending waking nightmares and reality-distorting hallucinations that force him to confront his fears, mental wellbeing, and relationships as he struggles to differentiate between reality and imagination. Vocalist KZ Staska states that the narrator is a character they embody to convey the cathartic tales that weave throughout the album’s eleven tracks. There is a nod to spirituality within the themes of the album, but hope and salvation remain in short supply; misery reigns supreme.” The album has eleven songs.
“Good Reasons to Freeze to Death” is first. It has a distinct PostRock sound, or even a Pop sound. The blood-curling screams in the chorus are intense, but the song doesn’t lose its melodic edge. “Studying the Greats in Self Immolation” has ethereal and charming melodies in the guitar work, and a sense of invoking deep though. “Lord Have MRSA on My Soul” is a fast moving song over fields and valleys, and occasional mountain views. The positive sound is tested by dissonance and harsh vocals, and you can feel the subject barely hanging on. “All Towers Drawn in the Equatorial Room” has angry tones out of the gate. Gone are the affirmative and optimistic tones, and it sounds like the subject is fighting hard with his demons.
“Obelisk of Hands” is another song with firm, frustrating sounds out of the gate. They are replaced in the chorus with clean vocals, as the song struggles heavily between sadness and anger. “It Will Hurt, and You Won’t Get to Be Surprised” is a song that reflects the pain of dealing with mental illness. It is riddled with outbursts of both indignation and hopelessness. It really travels a deep ravine at the end that you never think you will get out of. “Reverberations of a Sickly Wound” has tense tones and spoken words that are hard to discern. The tension builds through much of the song until relief finally comes at the end. “Blighttown Type Beat” has dissonant and angry feelings that border on the Punk genre, but the heavy and aggressive sound keeps it on the other side. The illness is felt strongest perhaps in this song.
“I Dream’t of a Room of Clouds” might describe the illness best. Although I have no personal experience with it, I have heard it described as living in perpetual clouds without rays of light getting in. “Rue de Noms” closes the album. At first, some of the anger has subsided, but it returns with a vengeance. It’s a final dark expression of what misery is felt, and there are no happy endings here. Overall, I felt the core of the album deeply, which is the struggle with an illness that you can’t see. Although I love a happy ending, it wouldn’t have made sense here. Mental illness is one of the darker sides of life, and telling the story must have been cathartic for the band.
8 / 10
"In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You" Track-listing:
1. Good Reasons to Freeze to Death
2. Studying the Greats in Self Immolation
3. Lord Have MRSA on My Soul
4. All Towers Drawn in the Equatorial Room
5. Obelisk of Hands
6. It Will Hurt, and You Won’t Get to Be Surprised
7. Reverberations of a Sickly Wound
8. Blighttown Type Beat
9. Body Fountain
10. I Dream’t of a Room of Clouds
11. Rue de Noms (Could Have Been Better, Should Have Been More)
Keziah Staska – Vocals, Noise
Ryan Couitt – Guitars, Additional Vocals
Aki McCullough – Guitars, Additional Vocals
Justin Soares – Bass
Anthony Montalbano – Drums