Sleepers Awake


Written by: SC on 26/07/2013 18:13:52

Which ingredients are needed to make a good metal album? And in the light of this, is it possible to satisfy everybody? This second question I think is quite easy to find an answer to, and that answer is no. When counting the numbers of sub-genres beneath the metal-umbrella it is almost impossible to get in touch with all of them. As time passes there has been a liberalistic movement in the metal culture when it comes to soundscape. What I mean by this is that in the 80’s and early 90’s bands were more dedicated to one specific sub-genre when in the last ten or fifteen years the number of bands that combine two or more sub-genres started to increase. This progressivity has spawned many good as well as bad bands.

One of the newer bands in this field is Sleepers Awake from Columbus, Ohio who have just released their second album “Transcension” on which progressivity and crossovers between genres are keywords. Right from the start, one of the main influences stands clear: sludge metal, the heavy and gravely sound of which creates the base of the soundscape. As the record goes along the band implements more or less discrete elements several other sub-genres like grunge, progressive rock and progressive death metal. Lyrically “Transcension” deals with the magical tale of The Augur as a concept, which the ever-expanding musical universe supports rather well and you feel like you are on a journey into the depth of the unknown as the album goes on.

Most of the soundscape has clear references to some of the biggest bands from the last decade. As explained, sludge is one of the core elements of the album and the band Mastodon has clearly been a source of inspiration. Just like Mastodon’s amazing concept album “Leviathan”, “Transcension” takes you on a hectic adventure. An example of this is the track “Apparitions” which takes you to the frothy sea to face the monster within. On the track “Slave Within” the crooked grungy sound of Tool stands clear in the verse part but when it comes to the chorus the sludge returns and one of the few vocal growl parts takes its place. The fragile “Throat Of Winter” sends us of to the more melancholic atmosphere one will find in the company of Opeth. Generally, the vocals as well as the soundscape draw clear references to the bands that have just been mentioned.

With this in mind one can therefore wonder why the band leans so much on others instead of just being themselves. However, to respectfully capture the qualities of other bands without the sound ending up as just a cover of these metal giants, while adding something extra to make the soundscape personal, is an impressive feat. One can from time to time wish that Sleepers Awake had tried harder to find their own sound but in a complex way they have managed it somewhat because of their elegant way to merge all of this together into a really exciting and diverse travel through an immense amount of different expressions and states of emotion. And this leads us back to my first question: “What are the ingredients to make a good metal album?”. In my opinion these elements that Sleepers Awake has chosen to use have created a pretty solid record which I hope can help them get bigger and further their opportunities to seek perhaps even greater adventures.

Download: Saint Condemned, Slave Within, Burdened
For The Fans Of: Mastodon, Tool, Opeth

Release Date 17.06.2013
Self Released

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