April 18, 2013

Seven Sisters of Sleep - Opium Morals

Review by Justin C.

Seven Sisters of Sleep's new full-length, Opium Morals, is a crushingly heavy hunk of sludgy hardcore (or hardcore sludge, if you prefer). The vocals are mostly done as hardcore screams, but there are also some wicked death metal gutturals thrown in to great effect--see the album opener "Ghost Plains" for a good example. The guitars are distorted beyond all reason and stay that way, and the rhythm section lays down all the thunder you would expect. The drumming in particular is worth paying attention to. There's plenty of bombast and fury when needed, but what I like about the percussion most is how well tailored it is to the rest of the music.

The longest song on this album clocks in at just over four minutes, so you'd be forgiven for thinking that each song covers more or less one idea and then moves on. You'd be wrong though. These songs are restless in the best way possible. They rarely end up where they started, which gives them a feeling of space and breadth beyond what their running times suggest. Check out the second track, "Moths" (probably my personal favorite). It starts with a ringing, eerie guitar line over a stately drum line, but before long, the guitars and drums start taking turns upping the ante in tempo and intensity before bringing things back to a sludgy crawl to end the song. "Orphans" starts out with a churning mid-tempo guitar riff, but the song breaks into fast, almost thrash section in the middle before slipping into a doom-paced ending with depths-of-hell gutturals, and the track is only two and a half minutes long.

Opium Morals is a great addition to the already impressive A389 Recordings catalog. It's shaping up to be a good year for the label. If you want more proof, check out their Bandcamp sampler here.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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