Before I even listened to last year’s This Shame Should Not Be Mine, I knew I would love it. Just the combination of the album title and cover art – an image of GGGOLDDD lead singer Milena Eva standing triumphantly in full armor – was enough to draw me to it.
Its songs were full of quiet anger that built into cacophonous cathartic releases; full of throbbing synths against a foreboding post-metal soundscape; full of piercing lyrics that acknowledge feelings of shame and refusals to let them stain you any longer.
On the final track, Eva sings:
“It’s time for healing now / I will give myself a break / I need it, I want it, I take it now.”
I heard this album at precisely the right time. About eight years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD that stemmed from a sexual assault. I went to therapy to treat it for about a year before having to stop abruptly due to insurance reasons. By the time I was able to afford therapy again, I had convinced myself that I was over it and no longer needed help. In the past year or so, I finally accepted that I had notfully accepted what happened and started seeing a therapist again.
And so, when GGGOLDDD announced they were putting out an EP called PTSD, I was drawn to it just as I was drawn to This Shame Should Not Be Mine. I knew I could trust the band to once again take the things I’ve felt and play them back to me through the filters of cloying pulsating electronica.
“It’s over, come out now / you don’t have to go through this anymore.”
These opening lyrics quietly offer encouragement, but the eerie delivery and nightmarish synths suggests a horror lying beneath that hope. As the track progresses, ever-present industrial hums and sparse metallic percussion provide a comparatively bleak backdrop to declarations of perseverance and triumph. The contrast illustrates how there remains an undercurrent of fear even as you begin to heal – because acknowledging and confronting pain is horrifying in and of itself. While these songs find time to celebrate resilience and growth, they’re simultaneously frank about the misery present throughout the process of, well, processing.
A sense of longing pervades the release as well – a longing for renewal and normalcy. On “Silence,” a somber trumpet-like synth closes out the track as Eva expresses a yearning to start over. Those final notes ring out like a darkwave “Taps” to grieve time lost to agonizing over the past.
“It takes a long time to forget / Gently swaying in this mess of regrets / I’ve been waiting to place the bet.”
In order to treat PTSD – to stop endlessly ruminating on a past traumatic event – you need to relive said event in therapy. Instead of burying trauma, you have to revisit it for weeks and weeks with medical professionals so that you can process, reframe, and move on.
It makes sense, then, that GGGOLDDD would choose to rework and remix two older tracks on their PTSD EP. It’s the perfect way to artistically illustrate the therapy process; to take something from the past (in this case, a song) and reshape it using all the growth you’ve had since then.
Beyond this metaphorical purpose, it’s great to hear the evolution of GGGOLDDD’s sound so clearly in these remixes. Since Why Aren’t You Laughing? and No Image, the band has added more gothic darkwave influences, and while the original recordings are fantastic tracks in their own right, the addition of haunting synth ambience and jarring pangs of electronic noise really elevate the emotional impact. “He Is Not – PTSD Version” starts off much noisier than its predecessor, centering an aural sensation of spiraling pain and grief. Meanwhile, “Old Habits – PTSD Version” takes more of a slowburn approach this time around, and this crushing buildup offers a catharsis that wasn’t as prominent on the No Image version.
“My body and soul, collecting dust / I sit still with my thoughts.”
The final track, “I Let My Hair Grow,” rivals the cathartic closure of This Shame…’s “Beat by Beat.” It grapples with the reality that trauma cannot be controlled, combating this truth before ceding to it. There’s a push and pull to the composition, cycling between cold industrial and warmer piano flourishes; symbolizing an internal struggle between acceptance and denial. The gentle opening gives way to a more ominous soundscape, but when the song later shifts away from Eva’s voice to center a beautifully solemn piano, the result is sublime.
Even as the song crescendos into a final burst of exultation, there remains a lingering melancholy. The healing has only just begun; there’s still a lot of work to do. This may not be a declaration of complete victory against the past, but it is the resounding thud of the first major steps to recovery.