Written by: The Administrator
Welcome to Sleeping Village Micro-Reviews: Volume I! The following is a collection of very short reviews written in reaction to individual tracks submitted by a delightfully eclectic assortment of artists. The only thing the musicians featured herein all have in common? They responded to our following twitter prompt: "If you reply to this tweet within the next uhhhh 60 minutes with a link to one of your songs, I'll check it out and write a lil' micro review."
And so here we are. Thank you to everyone who submitted tunes, I had a lot of fun doing this and will certainly be sending out a similar prompt again in the future. To everyone reading, I hope you find something lurking below that appeals to your tastes. Please note: we had a few submissions come in after the deadline--they will not appear here, but I will collect them all in a forthcoming Volume of Sleeping Village Micro-Reviews. If you are responsible for one of those submissions, fear not and stay tuned!
Enough of my blathering. Without further ado:
Tentacult - "Aberration Sphere"
Considering the olde adage that we eat first with our eyes, I am eating well on the basis of this artwork alone. Stellar stuff. The track itself, set midway through Tentacult's excellent Lacerating Pattern, is juuuust weird enough to evoke the sense that one is witnessing otherworldly environs. This is prog-minded death metal done right: notably impactful groove, frequent writhing forays, and a general heft that recalls the old school without losing broader scope. When stacked against the album's doomier and more morose tracks, "Aberration Sphere" hits particularly hard.
Indigent - "Tonight"
The only info I had going in was that this single was written for the artist's girlfriend 13 years ago, and that they are still together, which tells me very little beyond the fact that the song wasn't so bad as to result in a breakup. Far from it, in fact. "Tonight" absolutely rips. This is a surprisingly dynamic track with tasty variety in the guitar department--I particularly like the sweeping lead that sneaks in at the track's midpoint, as well as the extensive soloing that closes the track. Both sections add a layer of depth and contrast nicely with the pounding riffage, hefty drums, and intensely muscular vocals.
Morfiouz - "Till I Drown In You"
Having no clue what this was prior to hitting play, I was pleasantly surprised to find that "Till I Drown in You" is more than a lil' bit spooky. It starts off with an eerie build into atmospheric vocals, dropping back into an anticipatory pattern before the vocals properly begin. Toward the back half, a noodling guitar kicks in, running rampant across the creepy backdrop. This track delivers a chilling vibe, not comfortable enough to ease me into a zoned-out state of relaxation, but evocative and haunting. Interesting stuff! Once this exercise is complete, I'll certainly explore deeper down the Morfiouz rabbit hole.
Wyrmhaven - "Sacred Grove"
Another track with a killer solo! If you're already familiar with Tucson's Wrymhaven and their highly engaging brand of melodic death metal, you already know that this new single is gonna fuckin' slap. "Sacred Grove" is a barn burner, built for the kind of full-body headbanging that inevitably results in self-inflicted injury. The guitar work is particularly pugilistic, yet varied enough to avoid stagnation. I'm a big fan of the vocal delivery as well--Naemark isn't messing around here. Wyrmhaven present a high quality of work, and this track has me hyped to hear whatever they cook up next.
Lost My Shoe In An Ikea - "Let Slavery End Naturally"
I was initially very hesitant to check this out on the basis of, y'know, the title, but the context helps--this breakcore track was created using a recording of a teacher's unhinged rant. As such, the track feels inherently sinister. It's an exceedingly odd listen, and while I can't say the music itself is something I would typically seek out, I do enjoy the integration of overtly machinelike drums. It is aesthetically harsh in a way that is not often apparent in metal, and I find the combination of the clinically sharp percussion and the eerie atmospherics both alienating and alluring.
Silenced Echoes - "Nothing Compares 2 U"
Another band that I had no frame of reference for, which is always cause for excitement. As it turns out, Silenced Echoes plays 90's-esque alt rock with the emotive knob turned all the way up. This latest single, a cover of the immortal "Nothing Compares 2 U," is a well executed and slightly gritty homage. The vocals are a little saccharine for my taste, but that's a minor quibble, particularly when existing in the shadow of numerous vocal legends. It's an inherently killer track, and Silenced Echoes certainly does it justice!
Stormland - "Beast of Possibility"
Those of you coming in from the metal twittersphere are likely aware of Stormland's mecha-heavy gundam death metal. If you're not, this track is a great introduction to the development in style represented by 2022's The Human Cost, an album I still regret not finding the time to review. "Beast of Possibility" is brutal as all hell while maintaining a trademark uncluttered starkness. While his bellows remain massive throughout, Justin Pierrot excels at balancing oppressively heaviness with a soaring breeziness in the riff department, keeping engagement high by switching between stomps and melodic flair and then back again. A very solid track! I really enjoyed revisiting this one.
sleepybug - "Dream Romance"
A band named sleepybug sounds like a band for me. Given the typical nature of the music reviewed here, I don't have the best vocabulary to describe the soft and gentle dream-poppiness provided on "Dream Romance," but I do know it sounds very nice indeed, as appropriately dreamy as one might hope. The vocals are airy but not ungrounded, and the general floaty aesthetic remains exceptionally appealing after repeat listens. Short and very sweet. I really, really enjoyed this one, and will definitely be checking out the album in full post-haste.
Big Noah Genesis x INSMNC - "THE DOPEST"
Finally, some hip hop has entered the arena. I've been a fan of INSMNC's recent production, but this is my first exposure to one Big Noah Genesis, who seems to be putting in the work this year judging from the string of singles. Insmnc's beat is bright and bold, brassy, just bombastic enough to balance out Big Noah's big presence, sounding like something that might sit comfortably on a Czarface project. To his credit, Big Noah Genesis finds a groove and makes it his own, and while the second verse is notably more powerful than the first, both are quite good. I'm a fan of the bouncy chorus, which feels inherently classic. A fun track! More from these two, please.
Harjo - "The Magi"
Look, submitting a 41:55 minute track is a respectable move, particularly in the context of my own extreme lateness in delivering the review I've been cooking up for like, uh, half a year or something. In any case, this expansive and experimental and oh-so droning soundscape is a thing of blissful distorted meditative beauty. "The Magi" is music perfectly fit for deep introspection. Listening with the lights off and the headphones cranked is ideal, provided you are in the mood to lounge in the pulsating current. Its like a mental deep-tissue massage, and that's a rare quality when it comes to our musical consumption 'round these parts. Notably, this track does not ever approach mere background noise--despite the long-form droning elements, there is a distinct sense of motion throughout the breadth of the track. In short, "The Magi" is truly a wonderful and beautiful track. I highly recommend taking the time and space to indulge.
Magna Moriendi - "Slowly Dying"
Oh, slowly dying? Albuquerque's own Magna Moriendi are just like me fr. This is a punchy no-nonsense death metal track, managing to pack quite a bit into its relatively brisk runtime--this beast clocks in under 3 minutes but makes use of every second, cramming a whole lot o' riffage into the fray. The vocals are particularly brutal and vicious in equal measure. I really like how raw and raucous this track is. Impressive stuff for a one-man act! And, while this exercise is admittedly supposed to be focused on single tracks, I must argue that if you're already taking the time to check out "Slowly Dying," you might as well throw on the whole 3-track EP.
Trench Gun - "We Feed The Machine"
From what I can glean, Trench Gun plays a nasty brand of nazi punching industrial doom, and that, folks is more than alright with me. "We Feed The Machine" from Torment features a truly subterranean low end alongside a nauseating squealing churn--meant, of course, in the best sense--that couples well with the bellowed vocal delivery. I do wish the vocals were a little more forward as they tend to be swallowed by the sheer weight of the instrumentation, and while they might have overpowered another genre, they work quite well here.
Western Jaguar - "Matador"
When submitting "Matador" for micro-review, Western Jaguar warned that it might not be a perfect match genre wise, and while it is true that I don't listen to a lot of bedroom pop and/or indie rock, this track is a very nice palette cleanser in the midst of this particular playlist. It is also a very fine track on it's own merits, and I particularly enjoy both the earnestly bittersweet vocals and the solo that adds a little shine to the back half. Judging from the bandcamp description, there's evidently quite a story about the creation, destruction, and recreation of this album, and I for one am quite pleased that it has survived to see the light of day. Good stuff! I'd definitely be checking out the album in full on the strength of this track.
Jake Ire - "Attrition"
Oh yeah. I like this. I'm particularly intrigued by the whispering stygian chorus that underlies much of the track, adding a sense of intrigue and drama. The vocal component serves as atmosphere rather than any kind of lyrical delivery system, allowing the engaging instrumentation to shine. I also really enjoy the almost militaristic snares that punctuate, as well as the outro, which grows in extremity as it reaches the finish line. Sitting somewhere betwixt genres, I'd classify "Attrition" as something along the lines of progressive doom, but I'll happily just file this in music that goes hard and demands multiple listens. Great stuff!
Storm of Crows - "Your World"
On the basis of this single track plucked from their album Twenty-Five Years, I have made the determination that Storm Of Crows play melancholic rock with the best of 'em. "Your World" is a slow and nostalgic burn. It's is initially a sweet and sad song, with a particularly excellent performance in the vocal department, but unexpected ramps up in the back half into a truly powerful display of emotive guitar-driven catharsis. If you're a rock fan, this track will undoubtably itch a scratch.
Woundlicker Feat. FLCOY - "Haunted World of Mirrors"
Y'know what this eclectic playlist requires? A fresh injection of the paragon of eclecticism. That's right, baby--it's time for some cybergrind. One of my favorite picks from Big Money Cybergrind's
Compilation, Vol. 1.5: New Blood, "Haunted World of Mirrors" balances throbbing and battering aggression, uneasily floaty vocals, and some chaotically catchy hooks. It's everything you want (or everything you actively avoid, depending on your preferences) blended into a potent brew. Woundlicker is gloriously expressive and maximalist, and if you enjoy or are intrigued by cybergrind in the slightest, I recommend checking this track out.
AVOWD - "Spectre of Nadezhda"
Those who have A. followed the Sleeping Village for a while or B. have chanced upon one of my many snarky tweets may be aware that I don't listen to much black metal. I am often bored by the genre, so when something does catch and hold my fleeting attention, please know that it is among the highest compliments I can bestow. Fellow Chicagoans AVOWD start off AVOWD Vol.1 with one such attention-grabbing track. "Spectre of Nadezhda" is a blistering yet delightfully bright affair, leaning into an urgency while simultaneously feeling organically lush and verdant. The vocals are simply stellar, as rabid as ye might hope for and more. This is great opening track to an equally great project, this is certainly among the best black metal I've heard this year.
New Dawn Fades - True Till Death
At this stage in the micro review game, a little grungy groove hits the spot. Perfect, methinks, for our penultimate track. Alongside some retro hard-rockin' riffage, "True Till Death" features strong Soundgarden by way of Corrosion of Conformity vibes, which is a combination that will always go over well 'round these parts. The chorus is a true belter, and the central riff itself, while far from flashy, feels classically monolithic. It's a very solid track, plain and simple. I'll absolutely be turning to New Dawn Fades in the future when in the mood for some unadulterated groove.
FLCOY feat. Woundlicker - "Fearful Larks Contort Obstinate Youth (A Prologue, A PostScript.)"
Here we are at the end of Volume 1, and the second appearance of both FLCOY and Woundlicker--this time, the featured artist is reversed. As before, the combo works well, with a near-carnivalesque energy leading the charge through the intro. The intensely delivered spoken word component adds a level of interest and complexity that pairs nicely. "Fearful Larks Contort Obstinate Youth (A Prologue, A PostScript)" is an intense listen, but ebbs and flows with an intentionality. Despite a sub-5 minute run time, there's room for a multiplicity of passages and movements, lending the whole track a certain epic quality I usually ascribe to longer pieces. At risk of meandering: I like this a lot. Check it out.
And that's a wrap on Volume I! Thanks for reading and listening.
We'll be back with Volume II shortly--keep an eye out for a call for submissions.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.