Incubated over the course of 20 years, the partnership of Seedy Mitchell and Ryan Biggs is based on a friendship that goes back to before either of them were playing music or even listening to Metal. Now that partnership has developed into a dark and dynamic collaborative undertaking that sees Mitchell bringing material to the table as a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, vocals) while drummer Biggs offers the counterweight. Between them they have a wealth of experience, appearing in five previous bands ranging in style from Grunge to Metalcore to Punk Rock to Hardcore. Coming from those different musical backgrounds, Mitchell and Biggs have found their playing styles complement each other and blend to form a brand of deep and intricate Metal that conveys emotion but also maintains a technicality that makes it interesting to write, play and listen to. Their debut album as Sleepwraith is entitled “Day Terrors” will tell us what they’re all about.
The Edmonton Canadian duo start their debut with “The Aphelion Complex“, it’s heart monitor and defibrillator clear ushering in a mix of Blackend Thrash with hints at The Black Dahlia Murder and early Between The Buried and Me in the guitar work. If you found either of those bands to have overpowering vocalists then perhaps this might be more appealing as Mitchell’s uncleans are vicious but not a blunt force trauma to the head. There is also a beauty to what the pair are creating with some Jazzy Progressive Metal elements mid song and a delicious solo served up in slick style. There is so much going on in the song that you won’t get it all even after 1o-12 repeated listens and that is a hallmark of great album material. “Transorbital Decay” fuses some galloping kit work with riffs a plenty while allowing the bass to pop out of the mix at various points. Mitchell uses a vocal twist with some Death Metal isms in the fore ground and clean Grunge inspirations in the back ground and surprisingly we’re left with a couple of passages that sound like System Of A Down. Similarly, the opening of the gargantuan “Anamnesis” has a bit of “White Pony” era Deftones about it with harmonic clean vocal passages putting Swiss Cheese like holes in the uncleans. Those inspirations might be part of the background that will be obvious to the more experienced Metal Head but Sleepwraith are busy doing their own thing. It’s a melting pot of darkness shrouded in Death Metal and the story telling style of Mitchell adds to that to create a dark tale from the Brothers Grimm.
Mitchell talks to the mirror throughout “Burial Plot” like the demon on the shoulder, ranting and raving like Dave Mustaine on “Sweating Bullets” but with a far heavier vocal tone. The riffs bounce along nicely throughout but it’s the brilliant final 60 seconds of funk bounce breakdown with a tight nuanced clip that makes the track the stand out moment. In contrast the melancholic introduction of “Biomite” is a 30 second or so break before building through a blast beat and Black Metal riff orientated bridge to what we’d consider the bands core guitar sound alongside a spoken word that is nothing short of class. Keeping the variety high within the single cut with subtle flows into passages of different styles and sounds is something that Sleepwraith have down to a fine art and this one is a great demonstration of that. The night terror filled lyrics of “Sol” see Mitchell trying anything to escape his demons and rest and Progressive Metal passage injects melody to the punch as he rises from the depths of despair to take control. “Carnival Dread” is the combination of Coulrophobia and anxiety around crowds inside a schizophrenic mind as it plays out wanting to burn down the parade. There is some tongue in cheek humor with a Devil’s dance of Carnival sound inspired riffs that is intelligently put together.
Appearing around 7 months ago as a guitar playthrough styled video “A Demon’s Pawn and The Abyss” is a blistering Death Metal inspired cut that is reminiscent of material from “The Valley” by Whitechapel in a lot of respects. It has that beauty, that depth and that texture as well has being a captivating lyrical tale. Divided into two parts “The Vile, Raptured” and “The Vile Raptured” that are only a comma apart, the first part is simply a spell binding introduction to the onslaught to come. Incidentally acting as a sonic break from the depths of the previous cut, the first part mourns and sleepwalks in loathe before from the feedback Mitchell lets out a bloodcurdling roar as the second half sweeps in. It doesn’t claim the crown or want the power but it does point the fickle finger of fate at the establishment and call for masses to burn it down. “Dystroy” turns things back to the self loathing vitriol like an open letter to a family member left on a coffee table while being pulled kicking and screaming to a Mental Hospital. The straight jacket awaits and anyone who who has been to the dark places depicted will resonate with the lyrics once they’ve finished head banging to the riffs. This is nothing short of a phenomenal record of depth and texture that’s feisty and intricate and complex as well as being heavy hitting when it needs to be [8/10]
1. The Aphelion Complex (6:16)
2. Transorbital Decay (4:08)
3. Anamnesis (7:19)
4. Burial Plot (4:26)
5. Biomite (4:36)
6. Sol (5:09)
7. Carnival Dread (5:19)
8. A Demon’s Pawn and The Abyss (4:54)
9. The Vile, Raptured (1:58)
10. The Vile Raptured (4:49)
11. Dystory (6:04)