God Body Disconnect – Sleeper’s Fate

There’s a quiet revolution going on in Dark Ambient, and Cryo Chamber Records are at the heart of it.  The sole responsibility of genre veteran Simon Heath, they combine a high level of quality control with high-tech productions, rich artwork (both handled by Heath himself) and a unique sense of shared vision and intent to make them one of the most recognisable and engaging labels in recent years, and God Body Disconnect are one of their rising stars.

2016’s Dredge Portals was a remarkably successful début, not only instantly defining a strong identity, but achieving a crossover success unusual in the normally insular Dark Ambient genre.  Blending masterful sound-design with movie-quality narration, rich field-recordings and live instrumentation, GBD’s sound is more “musical” than people with a stereotypical “ninety minutes of exploding hoovers” image of this music might expect.  Relatively short tracks and regular changes of tone – a quality common to many Cryo Chamber artists – keep the music engaging and fluid, as does the strong sense of narrative that’s central to the project.

Despite the short time between releases, Sleeper’s Fate is in no way a rushed follow-up.  The sound has audibly evolved, particularly the use of guitars, which at times border on what’s still awkwardly called “post-Rock”.  The implementation of field recordings – a key feature of the genre – has also stepped up, creating a rich, often suffocating sense of depth around which electronic and instrumental sounds and drones build detailed, immersive sound structures.  Like many Cryo Chamber albums, Sleeper’s Fate is more emotionally nuanced and shaded than the “Dark” part of the genre label might suggest, with some genuine moments of hope and beauty among the bleakness.  It’s a very human album, using elements of horror and negativity to explore themes deeper and more resonant than most Black Metal bands manage.

Both a strong starting point for newcomers to the genre and an exciting evolution in sound for those already initiated, Sleeper’s Fate is likely to follow its predecessor as one of the strongest and most engaging Dark Ambient albums of the year.