The Sleeping Village doesn’t have a bat-signal...per se. What we do have, however, is a gnarled, wizened, and otherwise decrepit husk of a bellringer who lives at the top of our (similarly decrepit) tower. When said warden of the bells yearns for the sweet strains of sarcophagal death metal--something to drown out the incessant ringing--he lights his brightest lantern and waits, earnestly, in hope that someone will heed his call. Luckily for him, Rotted Life Records was waiting in the wings.
Rather than delivering their death blow by means of overt brutality, Russia's Gosudar deals, quite comfortably, in atmosphere. Nearly qualifying as doom at times, the emphasis on establishing a dense and foreboding ambiance takes priority over burly riffage. The comparison to Cruciamentum feels particularly apt--much like their abyssal forefathers, Gosudar excel at building a track to a natural pinnacle, before breaking it down to its gloomiest elements. While this formula applies to both tracks, it feels best executed on King of Pain, which features a wonderfully aggressive vocal climax at the peak of a progressively intense instrumental climb. While the guitar tone, in particular, is much heavier than something dredged from the catacombs of Grave Miasma, second track Anathema recalls a keen ability to lead the listener through a series of increasingly heavy passages.
The greatest strength of this demo is its ability, in the midst of dark atmosphere, to hint at the possibilities of a larger world, a grander stage for their ominous mise en scene. Frankly, this is one of the best qualities a demo can possess, as it leads this particular villager to believe that Gosudar are keeping a few cards up their sleeve for a (hopefully forthcoming) future release.
And yes, fear not. Our bellringer is sufficiently suffonsified.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and heavy enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a certain groggy-eyed and highfalutin' peasantry.