Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sleep of Monsters : "II Poison Garden"

The commanding baritone of Babylon Whores singer Vil,  keeps this from sounding like your run of the mill dramatic symphonic prog metal. The shift of guitar tone, creates a more Nick Cave vibe and less of power metal ringing to your ears. Female vocals blend with Vil's voice on "Golden Bough". The production really saves this album. Not that these are bad songs dependent upon it, but with different production this could have come across as cheese filled symphonic metal. Not to say this is not symphonic, the presentation is more organic. But now that you are totally confused as to what is going on with this album. I'll say it's powerful and at times even dark despite the more major key melodies. The more upbeat "Art of Passau" finds their sound not as effective at this speed. The chorus really doesn't stand out and the layers of vocals don't help achieve better dynamics. There are some cool punches , but overall I don't hear it playing to their strengths. "Babes in the Abyss" plays it too safe in it's middle of the rock n roll approach.

They slow down into a more deliberate crunch for "Beyond the Fields We Know" and find retro metal meeting darker new wave tinged rock like the Mission UK. They abandon metal altogether to some more like an occult based U2 on "the Devil and All His Works". At times this combination of pop sensibilities combined with goth influence reminds me of Crash Test Dummies, when the singer dips down into his lower range. They start "Our Dark Mother" off with a moodier and more melodic tone on the first verse and can't take their foot off the gas to keep it from accelerating back into the kind of alternative rock that has dominated the second half of this album. This song however did grow on me more in the second listen than some of the other forays in middle of the rock radio rock. The almost more Spanish intro to "Armies Far East" has some great guitar work and the first verse has promise, but once again it all builds into a place at this point in the album it already feels like we have been, however they set the stage better going into it.

The moodier "Land of Nod" is a step in the right direction. Vil begins to sound like Iggy Pop in some places and Billy Idol in others. Overall this album is pretty solid, I think I wanted it to be darker and heavier than it was other words more like Babylon Whores, instead of accepting this project for what it is which is ambitious fun. I'll give it an 8.

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