Review: “Sleepless” by Karpenter

Named in tribute to Horror movie master John Carpenter, Italian Alternative Metal band Karpenter formed by former Fightcast vocalist Filippo Tellerini and rhythm section Francesco Vicini (bass) and Marco Biondi (drums) in 2019. Joined by guitarist duo Federico Conti of Creep fame and Manuel Nucci alongside Figure of Six keyboard and  programming mastermind Michele Mingozzi, the 12 legged beast have taken it upon themselves to create a Horror film soundtrack like no other. An escape into a hostile and tormented World in which nightmares become reality, their debut album “Sleepless” was recorded and mixed by Gabriele Ravaglia (Extrema) and Gianmarco Bambini at Fear Studio in Italy before being mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Epica, Fleshgod Apocalypse).

Horror themed albums have been done before and with this one lending each track to a separate story such as “The Manor” for Army of Darkness, “Perfection Valley” for Tremors, “No Vacancy” for Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho, comparisons to “Silver Scream” by Ice Nine Kills seem inevitable if a little too obvious. All of the cuts here are bathed in atmosphere thanks to the icy synths which give everything a chilling dark feel, the leads from Conti are slick and vibrant while the syncopation with Nucci is surprisingly Trivium esq and both men play with a verve and freedom that gives the album a really nice feel. Tellerini has a more Traditional Metal vocal style and his lyrics are clearly structured into a verse chorus holding pattern that makes the cuts easy and sing along to as they are rattled off at pace, the album being little more than half an hour of power that makes for short and sweet listening. “Mechanical Sense” is the first one to really take hold, the slick leads taking a leaf from the early Metalcore bands who had Hard Rock influences like Atreyu. Each one has a certain sense of the cinematic and dramatic, an epic quality that is usually the stock in trade for more Progressive leaning bands, “Shark” being a fine example, especially when joined with those gloomy vocal melodies. Tellerini has a wonderful storytelling style and while there are a few moments where his accenting is really obvious, like on “The Manor” but crucially it lends plenty of charm to the record, far more of a help than a hindrance. The tracks that work the best here are those which have more synth in them and aren’t just topped and tailed by them; “The Hardest Party” being an arena filling anthem that is elevated by those moments mid-track. Saving one of the finer moments until the end is in sight, the staccato riffage of “No Vacancy” and “Dark Mountain” that allows those synths to bleed through are absolute pleasures, the latter having some M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold style backing harmony vocals that are strangely not used anywhere else… [7/10]

Track listing

1. Sleepless
2. Mechanical Sense
3. Perfection Valley
4. Falconer
5. Shark
6. The Manor
7. The Hardest Party
8. The Swamp Thing
9. No Vacancy
10. Dark Mountain Side

Sleepless” by Karpenter is out 28th May 2021 via Rockshots Records

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