Anna Von Hausswolff is a singer-songwriter who has always embraced a progressive attitude to creativity. Never unafraid to straddle genres as diverse as metal, Krautrock, and dark pop, and always remaining elusively undefinable, she has made waves over the past decade with her four previous albums and numerous illustrious collaborations. As well as following her own unique musical path, Von Hausswolff (to name just a few of her achievements and endeavours): runs a record label, has guested with Wolves in the Throne Room and Swans, has supported Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and has hosted visual art exhibitions. Continue reading
Ulver’s Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (House of Mythology) stands as a kind of unofficial conclusion to the vision set out in 2017’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar, comprising a selection of cuts from the final draft, and select live recordings. Continue reading
Babylon Whores are the single most underrated band of all time, and Cold Heaven (Misanthropy, though recently re-released on vinyl by Svart) is the greatest undiscovered gem of all albums, so it is with anticipation most foul that Sleep of Monsters’ debut Produces Reason (Svart) saunters into our musical consciousness, being as it is the new vehicle for the distinctive crushed velvet pipes of Ike Vil, former ‘Whores mainman.
It can often be unfair to compare a new venture to a participants old wares, but when the vocal cords are as instantly recognisable and perception shaping as Vil’s it’s hard not to. Accompanied by songwriter and guitarist Sami Hassinen (Blake) and former members of Waltari and HIM, Produces Reason kicks off with a pair of rockers, as if Ike’s former occult troupe had been polished by the HIM hit machine, ‘Nihil Nihil Nihil’ dark, catchy and understated, with a strong vocal chorus hook.
As the album unveils, the rock element is toned down and replaced by a more gothic, sedate feel, led by Vil’s characteristic delivery and melancholic lines, and flashes of Sisters of Mercy, Beastmilk and even Simple Minds decorate their Gothic rock. ‘Christsonday’ liberally dips its toe into Queensryche’s ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ and emerges with the guitar motif intact, dropping the familiar lick over their death rock, while ‘Magick Without Tears’, the true closer for this album (additional track ‘I Am The Night, Colour Me Black’ is superfluous and dynamically doesn’t work) kneads in the vocal talents of the “Furies”, a trio of female vocalists whose harmonies proliferate the album at various points, over a Pink Floydian organ-led flick.
Managing to retain the core elements of its participants former endeavours, weaving and celebrating their individual talents and ideosyncracies, Sleep of Monsters have produced a credible dark pop debut, reflecting the pasts of its’ creators, and one that leaves the promise of something even more grandiose and fruitful in their future.