Album Review: Gonjasufi’s “Callus”

Brilliantly dark and dense, Gonjasufi’s third full-length release shows his fans he is nowhere close to letting up his uniquely gritty and honest approach to both his music and lyrics. Perhaps his most melancholy album, which reflects the views he has on our thorny world of racism, ancestry and religion, “Callus” modestly shows a supremely introspective Gonjasufi that calls out to anyone who will listen. The contradictory aspect of the album is that while it has messages for the masses, it does not present itself as such. Abrasive and brooding, even distressingly so at points, the album stands as a complicated cry against the negativity in the world.

With an admirable sense of seriousness, Gonjasufi weaves together his reactions to these prevalent issues with eclectic music that draws from the darkest depths of other genres that served similar purposes. The subject matter and lyrics aren’t for the faint of heart and require a somber, thoughtful attention, to mirror what exudes throughout the record and what the artist put into it. While often cryptically poetic, his lyrics are simple and repetitive, reverberating with electric viscosity in the listener’s brain, waiting to be deciphered.

The music is no effortless endeavor either—with many dense, ethereal layers, the ear will be drowning in sound in this album, and even naturally recoil at points, when Gonjasufi treads the line of memorable and unsettling production. By incorporating trashy drums, crackly synthesizers and a subtle yet powerful use of filters and other effects, the singer shows off his producer chops that provide not only a fitting backdrop for his raspy vocals, but also pull the listener in on their own.

For a more depressing set of soundscapes and textures where the vocals are not as much of a feature as the instrumentals, this is the album to spin. It may not contain the catchier songwriting from his earlier releases, but “Callus” is a coherent, brutally genuine work that will leave the listener in a state of cynical introspection.

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