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Sleepless: Blood Libel

Quite the interesting hybrid we have going on here with Sleepless' debut EP Blood Libel. A three piece outfit from Oregon, Sleepless play a note dense and technical blend of thrash and death metal that features so many riffs and time changes that I can't even keep track of them all. And as if the blend of technical thrash and death metal brutality wasn't enough of a curveball for you, the vocals on the 4 song ep are all in a clean, traditional metal delivery. Such a cocktail of genres could come off as a confusing mess, but "Blood Libel" is a pretty interesting proof of concept for Sleepless, even with some warts.

The opening track on Blood Libel, "The Man Who Could Not Sleep", is the most technical of the 4 tracks here. A deluge of various detuned and crushing riffs start things off with a bang. The riffs like this are when Sleepless really let their death metal mettle show, and as 2 of the members of the band (drummer and bassist) are veterans of the extreme metal scene, it should be no surprise that these moments are all over the place on this album, but especially this song. When you are throwing out so many riffs in quick succession, they can't all be winners though. There's some bouncy, almost butt-rock riffs here and there which seem comically out of place when sandwiched between the fury of some of the beefier moments. Vocalist (and guitarist) Kevin Hahn has a good voice, but I'm not a gigantic fan of his delivery, either. His highs and the way he sings in general is somewhat monotone, and I don't find his slightly grittier voice he sometimes uses to be terribly convincing, either. That said, I do find the clean vocals over the rampaging riff apocalypse to be a neat change of pace from what technical thrash or death metal usually bring to the table.

The remaining 3 tracks aren't as over-the-top with their construction and having to do something new every 15 seconds, and honestly I think the latter songs could have used the injection of insanity that comes from all the changes and ideas. "Host Desecration" has some pretty nifty harmonies and solos, but the chorus is annoying and the bits with just drums pounding away with some spooky keyboard accompaniment is just bizarre. The final track, the titular "Blood Libel" is the shortest, and the most simple song here, aside from a blast beat beatdown towards the end of the song. Again, not completely sold on the vocals or melody lines, but overall certainly some good ideas and technically well played.

Blood Libel is certainly an interesting listen and the novelty of having all the crushing riffs and blazing tempos offset with super clean (most of the time, anyways) vocals is something that will probably perk an ear or two. The songs can be disjointed, with unnecessary segments and questionable additions, but as a 4 song taster for what the band can do I think it's mostly a success. If Sleepless can deliver the riffs and step up their game on hooks and trimming the fat, now we'll be talking.

Track Listing:
1. The Man Who Could Not Sleep
2. Host Desecration
3. Deluded Hordes
4. Blood Libel

Added: July 14th 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 779
Language: english

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