Depths of Tides: an interview with Sannhet

photos courtesy of Fred Pessaro

photos courtesy of Fred Pessaro

Released by Brooklyn metallers Sannhet, the album Known Flood is one of the most extensive and challenging journeys this year, an impacting and imagination inspiring flight through desolate landscapes, pervading shadows, and far reaching sonic climates. It is a wholly impressive and aggressively provocative encounter which leaves senses and thoughts enthralled and enslaved in nine captivating instrumental fusions of styles and ambiences. To find out more about the band and their startling album we had the pleasure of talking with bassist AJ Annunziata.

Hello and thank you for letting us discover more about Sannhet and your powerful music.

You have just released your excellent debut album Known Flood, but before touching on it can we find out about the origins of Sannhet and how you all came to meet and link up creatively?

Sannhet’s early incarnation was as a two-piece, and a bit different than what you’ve heard on Known Flood, more of an experimental noise/ambient project. The two recorded a full album of beautiful music that will remain in the shadows, as the project wasn’t quite where they wanted it to be. Live shows and a new EP followed, but it was only then that they considered adding low-end for the additional impact at live shows.  I met John and expressed interest in Sannhet and the line-up was complete.

Yet after playing with the band for a few months, I realized there was something missing and it wasn’t a singer. Shortly thereafter, we introduced our visual element, one that we consider crucial to our overall vision of Sannhet, and moved into a single line formation on stage.  This completed our overall thoughts on what Sannhet is, a multi-sensory experience that incorporates our concept with immersion in audio and visual elements.

What was the inspiration behind not only the band but the music you are exploring?

Our inspiration is bringing the concept of Sannhet to life, nothing more.  This is a very arduous process that involves much trial and error in both the visual/musical arenas.  It’s a concept that has a clear direction, yet is a work in progress when it comes to execution and approach.  This means we examine our output thoroughly and go back to the drawing board frequently.  We are highly analytical of what every piece of the puzzle means in the whole (visual and song-wise) and everything is intentional.  Unfortunately, this may mean that we will write a song that we truly love and play it a few times live, before ultimately deciding it doesn’t fit our entire schema.

As your debut Known Flood majestically shows, your music is a blend and experiment of sound and imagination which is wonderfully sannhetimpossible to pin down with a label. How do you as its creators answer questions of what does it sounds like?

We get the “post-rock”, “post-black metal” and “post-hardcore” tags thrown at us quite a bit, but ultimately we feel like Sannhet has its own sound and vision.  Call us what you want, we are Sannhet.

The album is also rich in multi-flavoured sounds and deep in diverse textures borne of numerous styles suggesting your personal tastes reap a wide field. What are the more prominent inspirations to your ideas?

The concept of post-humanism is omnipresent in Sannhet, the idea that at some point automation will render the humans useless.

Listening to Known Flood you get the sense that its tracks have had a long creative fermentation time and been bred over an intensive period. What is the reality and how long did the album take to create?

Many of these songs, at least in theory have been being written for almost as long as we’ve been playing instruments. Often as a creative, your process is to have a concept and let it blossom over until just the right moment strikes, then you assemble everything all at once.

Obviously there is open passion in your music and release but how truly personal are the pieces of music?

Anyone who doesn’t put passion into their music is faking it.  Our music is very personal.

The album finds its home in the darkest aspects of the world and being it seems, is that a reflection of you as people or just where the music took itself organically?

Each song has a separate personality, much like the facets of our own being.   The results can be grim, optimistic, filled with cascading beauty, or under the cloak of darkness. Yet even from the darkest moments comes true catharsis.

One of the most enthralling aspects of the album is the descriptive ambiences which alone inspire and paint thoughts and emotion draped imagery in the mind. How difficult was it to create these evocative aural hues without the more intensive and hungry aspects spoiling their impact?

Those sounds live inside of Chris’s head, extracted and manipulated from seemingly benign sounds. He records them and then manipulates them until he can extract what he hears. These field recordings come from everyday life.

sannhet2The mixing and production of the album is so important to realise all the nuances and facets of your sound, who handled that part of the recording and what made him the right choice to realise your ideas?

Colin Marston engineered the album, but John had a clear idea of exactly what he wanted from the recording. If you hear the album on vinyl or in flac, you’ll understand all of the nuances that are hidden in the mp3 format. For instance the drums where recorded to tape and sound massive in full format. There are several different types of amps used on the dubs to get specific sounds that very few people would decipher or appreciate. John is the architect of that hidden temple.

In our review we suggested the album also shows that you are only starting out on your journey of discovery with much more depth to investigate. Is that a fair comment and what during creating Known Flood sparked new thoughts and experiments to look at in your next writing?

We are constantly writing and the sound has definitely evolved since we recorded Known Flood. If you dig enough, there’s quite a few videos of us playing new material live. The new songs are clearly a result of growth as a band. We are constantly aiming to evolve the sound and confident in our evolution to become the best representation of Sannhet.

Known Flood is released on Sacrament Music, the embodiment of an independent. Can you fill us in on the label and am I right in thinking it was primarily started to release your album?

Sacrement is the child of Brooklyn institution Saint Vitus, a metal bar that is the center of the metal movement in our city, possibly the CBGB of its time.  The label was an extension of that, and we feel honored to be chosen as the first band considering the large amount of bands to pass through the doors over the years.  We may have been the first band to be released on the label, but it was formed on its own.

What comes next for Sannhet and what is the gig situation for the rest of 2013, will Europe see you sometime soon?

We are currently writing our next album, Europe will probably get us next year. Lots of US shows to announce soon.

Read the review of Known Flood @

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 26/09/2013

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Sannhet – Known Flood

     sannhet     Known Flood is an extensive and challenging journey through desolate landscapes, pervading shadows, and far reaching sonic climates, but most of all it is an album which ensnares thoughts and passions with some of the most descriptive ambiences and sounds brought to metal. The album is the masterful work of Brooklyn band Sannhet, a trio who infuse the widest array of sounds from black, sludge, and doom to groove and post metal. They have created a flight of impacting and inspiring imagination through nine startling and enthralling instrumentals, pieces which captivate everything from senses and thoughts through to the heart. One would suggest the band with their debut is only starting out on their creative discovery and still have a depth of promise to explore, which makes the release all the more impressive and a future truly exciting for them and us.

Consisting of Christopher Todd (drums and samples), John Refano (guitar and loopers), and AJ Annunziata (bass), Sannhet first released Known Flood on vinyl through US Sacrament earlier in the year and now it receives its worldwide CD unveiling with ConSouling Sounds and it is hard not to expect the album to make a deep impact. Already the recipients of strong acclaim for their live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of Black Cobra, The Atlas Moth, Hull, Enabler, Yakuza, and Altar of Plagues, the trio looks set to take things to another mighty level once the Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia) recorded release works its magnetic and inventive alchemy on the globe.

    Absecon Isle opens up the dramatic adventure, the track immediately charging through to the imagination with urgent hungry sannhet[1]rhythms and scorching melodic acidity as the rugged land of the invading soundscape opens up its bleak yet wondrous arms. Powerful and captivating the song eventually slows enough for the listener to take in the sights within the exhausting soundscape and for visions to shape their own mystery and the picturesque intimidation around them. It is a riveting start soon built upon to deeper pleasure by the following Safe Passage, its bulging rhythmic invitation a towering beckon to start off another breath stealing venture. As the drums continue to cage and disorientate, the guitars create a sonic mist which invades every pore and thought whilst the lingering yet drifting ambience is a stark evocation with sinister overtones especially as vocal samples whisper in the shadows. There are a few vocals additives across the album but all are textures and further facets to the narrative rather than any beacon to cling on to and add further richness to the invention.

The second track moves discreetly behind chilling chanting into its successor Invisible Wounds which in turn darkens the skies and brings in imposing intense clouds and rays of sonic beauty within the rapacious rhythmic confrontation from drums and bass. The track offers up harsh and intrusive breath but at the same time mesmerises with a melodic colour which paints a refuge within the demanding scenery exposing its claws.

As the songs Endless Walls, Moral, and Slow Ruin, the first a tempest of bedlamic emotion and intensity with a wall of rhythmic hypnotism, lay down their individual raw vistas the listener is pulled deeper into the expressive and at times spiteful depths of the unforgiving but rewarding world being unveiled. Whether it is one massive unpredictable realm or a journey through separate majestic heavy and unrelated terrains is up to the individual to interpret but as the last two of these three songs show as they take the senses into their own coarse grasps, it is an easy and fluid transition from song to song which is borne of craft and imagination from three openly outstanding composers and musicians.

The tremendous Haunches which again blends a rhythmic seduction that is irresistible with a sonic flailing wrapped in melodic insidiousness, pulls the passions up to another lofty height. The track, featuring guest squalling and ravenous vocal sounds from David Castillo from Primitive Weapons, is merciless as it softens up the senses further before making way to the biggest highlight of the album Still Breathing. From its dark but restrained doomy beginning the song evolves into a gallop of again inciting delicious rhythmic compulsion within a sonic wash of emotive provocation from the guitars. It is a gentler and more vibrantly hued atmosphere which envelopes the ear but no less hungry and voracious than any other of the more caustically paraded track.

With Flatlands providing a final lingering corrosive embrace, it is an outstanding end to a richly impressive release. A venture inspiring new hopes and fears with each traverse of its invention, Known Flood is the declaration of a new emerging force, and one which will set benchmarks ahead you only suspect.


RingMaster 08/07/2013

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