On her debut full length album, provocateur Dana Dentata skillfully toes a fine line in her assertion of abrasive artistry under the banner, Pantychrist. The 13-track manifesto translates as a compelling emotional purge, a potent, powerful exorcism of the very real trauma that has at times, tormented the genre-smashing songstress.
Among the few constants in an album that stylistically keeps the listener guessing however, is the notion of weaponizing that trauma - a core tenet of the compilation that sees Dentata sharpening her blades as each track plays out. Rather than wallow in the emotional scar tissue that she carries, Dentata finds a fully realized sense of empowerment despite her anguish.
Combined with an unbound sense of musical prowess and stylistic versatility that ropes in elements like the coldness of industrial, the low end rumble of modern hip hop, the hostility of metal and the confrontation of punk, Pantychrist positions Dentata in a league of her own - a contemporary that thrives as an outlier, purely defiant of genre, category, and limitation.
Doubling down on the notion flouting expectation, the most personal, intimate selection featured on Pantychrist could arguably be hailed as its most effective. Trading big production, dynamic instrumentation and venomous vocals for a ethereal acoustic melody, "Free" offers an evolutionary portrayal - a glimpse into the headspace of a young Dentata still exploring how to use exhaustive grief and weighty sadness to sharpen her sword.
In a Knotfest exclusive, Dana Dentata penned personal forward as an introduction to her latest offering from her album. Speaking candidly about "Free," Dentata revisits her childhood trauma, the ordeal of abuse that she endured, and how music played a vital role - first as her retreat and eventually her testimony triumph over trauma.
'Free' is the most vulnerable and difficult song on the album. All these years it’s been so much easier to yell, scream and scare people. It’s easy to hide behind that. My most vulnerable self comes from singing and playing acoustic guitar. When I was a young teenage girl experiencing great depths of abuse and had no one to talk to, my guitar was always there. My guitar was never going to get mad at me, yell at me or judge me. I would write these songs on guitar and play them as quietly as I could so as not to piss off my dad and brother. Holding in my tears but the tears still came out of my fingertips into the guitar. I didn’t even realize I was doing this and it makes so much sense now as to why I wanted to avoid writing or performing acoustic songs all these years. That was my coping mechanism and now that I look back on it, I can completely understand that connection to my rawest pain. It is pain I had to hide. It’s so difficult to share parts of myself that are so intimate but it’s the beginning of that healing and change in my life. I had to include this song on the album because I feel like I had to include every aspect of myself, not just the version we choose to present. In doing this I think I have been able to show my true strength. With Free I created my safe space to share my sadness and negative thoughts but also my hope. Part of including this song is honoring my inner child. I wish baby Dana could know that her sad songs she kept to herself would someday be released on a major label and give comfort to a lot of people who were hurt and alone just like her and she would finally be heard. Most importantly, I can hear myself now. This one’s for all my sad girls. Your tears and vulnerability will always be a part of your strength.Dana Dentata
Get the debut album from Dana Dentata via Roadrunner Records - HERE