ALBUM REVIEW: Sleep Token – Sundowning

The advent of Sundowning (Spinefarm Records), the debut album from London-based shoegazer Sleep Token, goes back over a year: so its release, ahead of a major US tour, has seen a level of furore largely unknown in Metal circles. Hiding identity under a cloak a la Ghost, there’s an added mystique here from an embracing of spiritual and somnolent values (the album’s title is the term given to the daily crash of dementia, for example), while melody is to the fore of the core sound. Continue reading

Dreadnought – Emergence

When allied to a sonic experience the term ‘Dreadnought‘ usually alludes to a bruising encounter with little imagination or subtlety. Not so the Denver quartet bearing that name, whose brand of Prog Metal is an eclectic mix of the weird, heavy and profoundly charming, and which spans many genres of music. Continue reading

Holy Fawn – Death Spells

I think Holy Fawn summed themselves up brilliantly with their band summary: “four creatures making loud, heavy, pretty noises”. Combining ambience, walls of distortion and ethereal vocals, Death Spells (Holy Roar) is the embodiment of these contrasting musical textures. Continue reading

My Diligence – Sun Rose

I love a good ‘first person possessive adjective’ band name. My Chemical Romance, My Vitriol, My Dying Bride…it suggests a dark drama within. My Diligence doesn’t get the juices flowing in quite the same fashion, but the rampant category-defying experience this Brussels collective provides is anything but weary drudge. Continue reading

Aver – Orbis Majora

Now into their second decade together, Aussie space cadets Aver have released two albums which, while not setting the world alight, has gained them a devoted core following known as Avernauts. Undoubtedly they’ll be looking for third album Orbis Majora (Ripple Music) to enhance that population and cement a reputation as masters of heavy-riffing invention. Continue reading

Sons Of Lazareth – Blue Skies Back To Gray

No, it’s not a quirky mix of Lazarus and Nazareth. Italian Stoner / Grunge quartet Sons Of Lazareth are apparently named after an old family farmstead and, after four years on the road, debut album Blue Skies Back To Gray (Argonauta Records) is about to open up these jolly revheads to the wider market. Continue reading

Haken – Vector

Oft breathed by those in the know in the same exhalations as Dream Theater, Leprous and Devin Townsend, London’s Haken frequently pass below the radar of those outside of Prog spheres. New album Vector (InsideOut Music) is, however, the fifth in the band’s ten-year existence and shows a level of accomplishment to surpass those more notable names. Continue reading

The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

It’s been five years since Pelagial, the last album from German harsh progressives The Ocean. The quartet, again referring to themselves as The Ocean Collective and now with Mattias Hagerstrand on bass duties, is renowned for its prolific output as well as incendiary live shows, so the anticipation for eighth studio album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade Records) is huge. Continue reading