It’s been 2 years in the making but we were finally blessed with Sufferer’s newest self-titled full length that tackles what living with anxiety is like. Formed by Shane Gann(Hail the Sun), Blake Dahlinger(I the Mighty), Cory Lockwood(A Lot Like Birds), and Forrest Wright(A Perception), this is what you may call a supergroup. Here’s a statement from Shane about what initially inspired this project:
“Anxiety, in some form or another, affects us all, and yet we still have trouble embracing it as just another part of life. For that reason, I’ve written an album detailing a day in the life of someone who suffers. The goal is to make anxiety seem less like an abusive parent and more like an annoying friend, something tolerable because it’s actually pretty harmless when you really understand it.”
This one is a bit tough because the tracks on Spotify and iTunes have different names than the Bandcamp version. Due to the oversaturation of titles like “Chapter I”, the band decided to name them differently for the 2 mentioned. I’ll be listing both track names for simplicity’s stake.
Having 3 vocalists makes this project more unique than most because of the vast amount of harmonies and screams each individual creates. Shane’s parts represent the Depression aspect, Corey’s represent the Anxiety, and Forrest representing the Subject. As someone who suffers from thoughts of depression and anxiety, this album is much more than just another album. It’s a direct representation of an average day of living with a mental disease, exposing all of the highs and lows that come with it. Chapter I/If is the perfect segway by introducing thoughts of doubt, eventually fading into Chapter II/Then.
Chapter II/Then is the initial moment of waking up, in which the Subject is already experiencing moments of both Anxiety and Depression. This is the thought of not wanting to leave the comfort of your house for fear of these thoughts taking over. Already the lyrics feel as though they’re something I would say to myself in my head throughout the day. It only gets more intense with Chapter III/Sword, this one giving more of a sense of hopelessness that a person with these diseases feels in a typical day. At the very end, we get this sense of bliss that takes over the individual then quickly fading into the next song which delves deeper into the chaos.
All of the songs on this record are relatable in some way, but the one which is most different has to be Chapter VII/Nocturnal. It’s all acoustic with various melodies that encapsulate this 6 minute track, which is the longest on the record. This sounds like it’s mostly Shane singing if I’m not mistaken, which means it’s mainly the depression taking hold of the subject. The contrast from this song into Chapter VIII/Pacifier is probably the most unique and clever way to structure an album.
Chapter VIII is my favorite album on the album because of how upfront it is about what these feelings represent to the individual. Constantly feeling like you should do the things that people say are healthy for you but physically not wanting to do anything. The rhythmic repetition that is used on “Take what you get” gives this song even more of a punch to it. Musically this album is full of talent, brutal heaviness as well as an amazing contrast that most album only wish to achieve.
Overall, this album is great not only for the message it gives but the musicianship achieved on this album. It eludes to some classic heavier vibes as well as creating moments that are vastly different. Definitely something I suggest everyone at least give one listen through of, whether or not you suffer from anxiety or depression. If you want to support the band, as well as a great cause, 35% of everything Sufferer makes from this project ever will go directly to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).