Written by: Blackie Skulless
Wow, talk about a neat hybrid here. Sleepless are a band that took formation from the remnants of an ‘80s death metal project called Dead Conspiracy. The trick is that they are meant to be a traditional heavy metal act, but the death metal history makes its way into the actual music itself, thus creating something that could be heavy/death metal? It seems impossible, you can’t really have the latter without harsh vocals, but should it exist, I think this would be it.
Entitled Blood Libel, this EP is four songs of chunky and brooding riffs that are topped off with melodic singing. Thank our lucky stars that the vocals aren’t overly clean production-wise, because this allows the two to work together rather nicely. Opener “The Man Who Could Not Sleep” is the beefiest song here, churning out multiple moods dipped into this odd blend. The constant jumps in pace and deep piano notes thrown in make it such a fun ride. “Host Desecration” follows this with a sinister drop in tone and overall meaner makeup.
Written by: Beaston Lane
Dear readers, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Avatar Country anymore. As the world grapples with the caustic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and our favorite artists are screwed over by penny-pinching corporations, an island run by fun-loving metal maniacs sure sounds like a great place to be--but that’s not where Avatar takes us on their highly anticipated 8th LP. Hunter Gatherer finds these bombastic Swedish metallers in that bleak headspace so many of us have to confront every morning as we contemplate the increasingly volatile future. Gone are the fables and legends of Avatar’s past, replaced with the nightmares of a planet in crisis. Robust and aggressive, Hunter Gatherer is the sound of one band’s cleansing discharge of years of pent-up anger and anxiety.
The good Capt. Graves is back in business, fresh off the wild festivities resulting from the Advent Varic signing release announcement. He seems to be mightily impressed with this one, which is...uncharacteristic. But we'll take it. - Ed.
Written by: Capt. Graves
Some things are worth the wait. Izthmi's new record (The Arrows Of Our Ways) is definitely one of those things.
I normally hate soundscapes, but this band really does them right. The long intro has me torn because I hate them. With this one, however, I'm reminded of catastrophe, and gloom. Then the black metal, high treble guitars come in, and I'm taken for that spin into darkness and despair. The bass guitar stands out in the mix, and I'm down for this ride into the bleak. Acoustic guitars with harsh black metal belching from the guts of a madman, indeed. This vocalist is a monster, a savage, and we all know how well that sits with me.
Remember Creatrix? I sure as hell do. It wasn’t too long ago that The Last Martyr shook the walls of ye olde Sleeping Village with their stupendous debut EP. While we’ve been slumbering, they, evidently, have been putting in the work: this Aussie outfit seemingly cranks out high-quality singles with the aptitude and piston-like precision of a well-oiled machine. It feels strange to refer to such newcomers as “markedly consistent,” but here we are, appraising a band with, like, six songs to their name as if they were genre mainstays. And all after a significant lineup change, no less. Every foray into the studio inevitably results in another solid track showcasing the band's assorted strengths in equal measure, and with their latest, The Last Martyr predictably utilized the formula to great success once more.
Finding excellence in unexpected places is one of the greatest joys in the (otherwise sordid) life of a music-reviewing scribe. While I haven’t been terrible vocal on this forum regarding personal opinions on melodic metalcore/post-hardcore, here’s a primer: I don’t explore those particular bogs frequently, as the vast majority seems to exist in a nebulous state of commercial creative regurgitation. And I don’t like bile on my boots.
But, on infrequent yet glorious occasion, a band like The Last Martyr takes elements of an established sound, add their own spin, and elevate said genre out of the murk. At risk of spoiling the rest of this damn review, let’s just say that Creatrix, the stellar debut EP before ye, succeeds enormously in this regard.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!