Monday, 25 February 2013

Void of Sleep - Tales Between Reality And Madness (album review)

Void of Sleep's debut full-length album is a chaos theory mind-twister.  Storm clouds roll in vertically and fall to thundercrack the ground.  Oceans solidify and crawl inward to land, swallowing all in their collective paths.  Melodic, crunchy and mathy, sometimes all at once, Void of Sleep take everything you know about heavy music and bend the hell out of what's straight, and straighten out what's bent.  They vivisect and stitch everything together sideways.  Void of Sleep will not be content until all genre delineations have been absorbed and incorporated into a single, hideous, hunch-backed, multi-limbed, writhing and agonized mass.

There are so many styles and sides on display here it courts ridiculousness to attempt to touch on all of them, I doubt there's even room for such a mad dash in this post, but it is worthy to say that despite the deluge of ideas, a single, cohesive vision emerges.  They are creatively restless but focused.  This is no crazy quilt but an incredibly complex and truly stunning tapestry of melody, aggression, mathematics and precision.  Rarely do these elements actually come together but there are glimpses of angry and precise melodic mathematics.

It would all be a little too pat for there to be any one song that unveils all of what Void of Sleep has to offer, the reality is there's too much for any one song.  The various sounds and styles the band has are diffused across the measure of the disc, but two songs that give the best idea of what the band are about are "The Great Escape of the Giant Stone Man" and "Blood on My Hands".  The former is an odd fantasy tale with an incredibly catchy chorus, guaranteed to stick to the roof of your mind like peanut butter.  The song breaks down and enters a black hole of atmospherics only to re-emerge floating in a Kirby-esque extradimensional patchwork about halfway through.  Somehow the band McGiver's a space ship back to the main theme by duct taping together stray bits of melody and land with only a few self-inflicted bruises.  The band struts away from the wreckage as onlookers are left stunned.  "Blood on My Hands" is the album opener.  It starts off safely enough with a cool stoner riff but soon the aggro chorus and herky-jerky nature of the music gives the impression that this is going to be a Pantera-like technical groove metal album seen through weed tinted goggles.  It's an impression that's not off the mark ... some of the time.  But by the end of the second track "Wisdom of Doom" that initial impression is left drained, dismembered and curing on the laboratory floor.

There are so many whiffs and hints of great bands and musicians here that a short list of reference points should give the reader an idea of the scope of this album: Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, John Entwistle, Behold! The Monolith to name a select few.  This is one of those bands that either everybody who listens will find something to love about them, or it will totally polarize listeners.  Those that fall in love with this album will do so diving head first and those that don't will run, not walk in the opposite direction.  But I don't think that will be the case, I think the first scenario will more likely be the case.  Every metal fan, every rock fan, every true music lover should find something very appealing about this album and by the end Void of Sleep should have at least earned the listener's respect.

Void of Sleep's recombinant and hybridized 'visionary sludge' is a revelation, catchy while challenging, accessible yet obscure.  The cover says it all really, it's simultaneously esoteric and specific, speaking to both the magi and the uninitiated.

Highlights include: "The Great Escape Of The Giant Stone Man" and "Ghost of Me"

Rating: 4/5

1). Blood On My Hands (5:25)
2). Wisdom Of Doom (7:08)
3). The Great Escape Of The Giant Stone Man (6:44)
4). Lost In The Void (8:32)
5). Ghost Of Me (6:21)
6). Mirror Soul Sickness (5:52)
7). Sons Of Nothing (5:37)
Total Run Time: 45:34

Gale - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Allo - Drums
Paso - Bass
Burdo - Vocals & Guitar

From: Ravenna, Italy

Genre: Sludge, Experimental, Prog, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Lord Summerisle, Opeth, Rush, Under the Sun, Voltron, -(16)-

Release Date: January 21, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Burning orange clouds rain ones and zeros down from blackened skies spreading a terrible and fatal disease of ill-logic.

Better Reviews:
Heavy Planet
Stoner Hive
Rock Freaks

Sludgelord interview

Void of Sleep on Facebook
Further browsing




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