Nothing ever happens like it does in the movies. The romanticization of life’s simpler things always leads to trouble, and perhaps that’s why Floridian multi-instrumentalist Logan Rivera lets that fact explode, verbatim, late in his latest catharsis. The track the hard truth gets shrieked over, “Rotting,” is incredibly urgent in its instrumentation. Guitars twitch and unravel over drums which threaten to decay to nothing more than brittle shrapnel. Welcome to Dreams of Suffocation, an album in which everything is laid out as it seems: frightening, direct and horrifically, painfully real.
To characterize Gillian Carter as another tally mark on a scorecard riddled with post-hardcore emotional portraits underestimates its thematic variety. Rivera showcases what some might consider an incongruous harmonica talent on “Sparks to the Sky,” where its downtrodden, prison-cell delivery is unleashed after a menacing and relentless examination of human want. It’s through destruction a deeper melodic core is crafted. From sheer power comes a more fragile center. Herein lies the boxing match which coarses through Suffocation without much hesitation.
On “This Title Means Nothing,” Tony Oriza’s frenetic yet methodical percussive ability follows a letter of resignation. The measured, but haphazard delivery caps off the track with ease, so as Rivera cries, “the truth is that i don't finish anything that i start,” his admission of defeat seems to whimper away from power. The line which follows is more aware of Gillian Carter’s full-band assault: “my abilities put up a good fight.” Despite some personal and lyrical anguish, this is a document put forth by a tightly-constructed project only slightly hindered by its topical distress.
Rivera composed this record in the wake of loss. Dreams of Suffocation stands as an auditory dedication to his late dog Mazy. Only one track really broadcasts itself as an eulogy, the interlude “Rest in Peace.” Underscored by Oriza’s watery organ chords, this dirge holds no stanzas hostage, but instead lets Rivera’s repeated guitar swells wash over the crushing absence of words. As the penultimate track we’re offered here, it seems to be the perfect opposition to its follower, “Discouragement (Better Luck Next Year).” Over standard-grade erratic percussion and equally fiery production, Rivera exclaims over a stubborn guitar trickling, “I’ve willingly given away everything for this & now there's nothing to show for it.” While the object of his claim is vague, the proof intended for it is clear. Gillian Carter’s latest full-length is a perfect swan song for a bygone friend. What Rivera has given is everything this two-piece could want to show -- brilliant, heartbreaking songwriting ransacked by dismay -- to portray how deeply this parting glance needed to be extended.