Written by: Izzy
For those keen eyed followers of mine, who’ve stuck with me through my (many) tribulations, you may remember I was in love with Fawn Limbs’ output in 2019, their phenomenal debut Harm Remissions landing comfortably on my top 30 of that year, and their fantastic followup EP Their Holes Aroused... earning an honourable mention. While there have been some significant shifts and changes in that list since, I stand confidently by my inclusion of Harm Remissions as it’s still an album I listen to today.
So, as expected, when Sleeper Vessels was announced I was absolutely giddy with excitement. The band was on a roll after releasing both an amazing LP and EP the same year and I was happy to throw myself under their bus once more for another dose of their hideously brutal mathcore/grindcore, after eagerly waiting just over a year their sophomore LP is here, and I got some things to say.
Firstly, they took a heavy lean towards the mathcore side of their sound and for the most part dropped their grindcore elements. You can still hear them if you really try but they’re less present and overall “grindcore” is a much less indicative label of what’s going on here. This is pure grimy disgusting mathcore. Secondly, this album was mixed by none other than Pedram Valiani, guitarist of Frontierer and Sectioned. This man is responsible for some of the most violent, abrasive, and extraordinary mathcore albums of the decade, there is no one I would trust more in the mastering of this album and he fulfilled my expectations in spades.
The mix this time around is crisper and fuller than Harm Remissions, and while I think the piercing, muddy mix on that album works entirely to its benefit. Similarly, the more dynamic and louder production job helps the pummeling and frenzied instruments shine, devastating drumming and raucous riffs soaked in dissonance and caked in filth. The coarse growls and rasped howls rage in the foreground, and even through the uproarious clamour of instruments and ringing of feedback you don’t lose a single note in the chaos, they’re clear and defined while maintaining their impact. While Harm Remissions stood out with it’s raw fury, a maelstrom of manic guitar and drums, Sleeper Vessels is an earthquake, defined by it’s punishing heaviness, leveling everything in its path.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Valiani’s bands were a direct influence on them here, as this much more blunt approach is quite reminiscent of what Sectioned and Frontierer have been doing, it’s meatheaded, sure, but sometimes you just want to send your skull rocketing through the nearest wall or get your lights knocked out in the pit by some jacked dude in a Car Bomb tee (or be the jacked dude in a Car Bomb tee).
And y’know while we’re at the closing comparisons portion of this review, I still have to admit I prefer Harm Remissions approach, and I’d say most of the aforementioned bands all succeed better at this whole brusque mathematical moshcore thing, but I don’t want anyone's take away from this review to be “this album is good but there are better ones.” I’d rather it be “this album manages to stand on its own merits amongst its peers and I should check it out.”
Fawn Limbs - Sleeper Vessels was released Sept. 18th, 2020. Vinyl through Roman Numeral Records and Wolves And Vibrancy Records, on CD through the band and Dark Trail Records, and on tape through Sludgelord Records.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!