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Sleepers Awake: Transcension

With their 2009 debut Priests of Fire, Ohio's Sleepers Awake established themselves as a rather unique hybrid of progressive metal and sludge metal. Their fresh and original take on the prog metal genre made for a very interesting debut that (unfortunately) fell under the radar of many listeners, but their 2012 follow-up album Transcension assures that the excellence heard on their first observation was not just a fluke of some sort. These guys are the real deal, and this is reflected in Transcension - a great album that reeks of pure creativity and class. Fans of forward-thinking metal music should find a lot to enjoy from this group's sophomore outing!

Although most progressive metal acts draw from the technical and melodic sound of Dream Theater or the more extreme style of Opeth, Sleepers Awake bears very little resemblance to the genre's pioneers. Transcension has a raw, gritty tone that is typically associated with sludge and doom metal - the music is dominated by thick and powerful guitar riffs, as well as Chris Thompson's rough and commanding vocal style. Sleepers Awake could be compared to acts like Mastodon, Tool, Neurosis, and Isis, but I think that would still be a bit misleading. This band has a level of originality that you just don't hear too often in progressive metal anymore, and I certainly appreciate their willingness to experiment. The songwriting and execution are also damn near flawless, so this is an experiment that paid off, to say the least. Sleepers Awake are extremely gifted players across the board, and the production has a clear and organic tone that suits the compositions perfectly.

Sleepers Awake has struck a fine balance between complexity and accessibility with Transcension, and the end result is an album that should appeal to fans of progressive metal, sludge metal, and post metal alike. Plenty of complex patterns, beautiful vocal harmonies, and killer riffs make this one an absolute blast to listen to, even though it will take a few spins to completely sink in. At nearly seventy minutes long, Transcension could've probably been condensed to make for a more compact and powerful listen, but this is still an excellent effort as it stands. Progressive metal enthusiasts looking for something new and unique should not miss out on this great album.

Track Listing:
1. The Augur
2. Burdened
3. Apparitions
4. Slave Within
5. Heathen Verses
6. Saint Condemned
7. Circles Without Division
8. Throat of Winter
9. Wintertide
10. Equa Mortuorum
11. Under Hoof and Gavel
12. The Fulcrum

Added: January 3rd 2013
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Sleepers Awake Bandcamp
Hits: 2729
Language: english

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