Review: “Vessels Of Grief” by The Final Sleep

It’s been five years since the first confession of The Final Sleep, a band that features founding members of Arsis, Burning Human and Withstand within their ranks and that critically acclaimed debut is one that remains as relevant and stunning today as it did in 2017. Drawing in influences from bands such as Opeth, Amorphis and Mercyful Fate the quintet created something that is greater than the sum of its parts and opened doors for them to share stages with many a household name including At The Gates, Rivers Of Nihil and Intronaut. That is perhaps why they returned to Brett Portzer (Author & Punisher, Arsis, Skinless, Recon) to Master and Mix together with Jason Bourdeau who recorded the guitars, bass, drums and vocals for Drift Productions.

Adorned by “The Souls Of Acheron” by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1898) as cover artwork, “Vessels Of Grief” may have had as long as a four year gestational period with footage available in all the usual places of the Troy New Yorkers performing the album opening cut “Scream In Silence” at Halloween show back in 2018 when they supported when they when they supported Wolves In The Throne Room at the Upstate Concert Hall. A cut cut from the cloth of what you might call the signature sound of The Final Sleep, it has elements of Progressive, Traditional, Melodic Death Metal and Thrash all interwoven into its rich  tapestry. The musicianship is not only incredible but also clever as they’ve taken the basic constructs of sounds we know and love and introduced complications to enhance them in unexpected and unpredictable ways and despite their influences they actually have a lot in common with bands like Boston Progressive Metallers Wilderun. Having a trio of guitarists helps that greatly, each one getting their own moments in the limelight and building the dynamics of the sound, while in Mike Van Dyne they have a powerhouse drummer extraordinaire. During cuts like “Until It Ends“, he adds some moments of real thunder and drive with bursts of jackhammer footwork that push the boundaries of the listener while Death Metal growls accompany the bright clean vocals, adding a darker element to the otherwise rampaging cut with a sublime solo. Each song has been carved from the finest stone, a piece of epic grandeur in its own right and no stone has been left unturned in the search for perfection. The mid cut acoustics of “Soul In Between” are otherworldly, the transition into and out of them as slick as the song is grand, the leads vibrant and majestic as well as being razor sharp and lethal, Andrews brutal roar the total contrast as the band paint in light and shade. The flipside of that coin is mindlessly self indulgent brilliance of the guitar work of “Funeral Seed“, sparse Death Metal vocals setting the wheels in motion before the instrumentation takes hold with cinematic effect, the forth solo being executed to perfection by Nick Cordle. The band themselves describe their music as Melodic, Heavy, Dark, Uplifting and Empowering and this sophomore album is all of that and then some. Technicality, achingly beautiful melodies that transcend into dark soundscapes at a moments notice, Progressive and yet memorable and catchy, dramatic and violent, “Vessels Of Grief” is one that is scintillatingly imaginative [9/10]

Track listing

1. Screaming In Silence
2. Until It Ends
3. Pale Whisper
4. Soul In Between
5. Funeral Seed (ft. Nick Cordle ex-Arch Enemy, ex-Arsis)
6. Eternal

Vessels Of Grief” by The Final Sleep is out 4th February 2022 and available for pre-order via bandcamp

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