Review: “Host Desecration” by Sleepless

Back in March 2021, Progressive Trad-Metal trio Sleepless who feature in their ranks two former members of underground Death Metal pioneers Dead Conspiracy unleashed their debut EP “Blood Libel” upon an unsuspecting World. The story goes that after an enthusiastic response (including from yours truly) the band were contacted by Dutch label Metal Warrior Records with the idea of fleshing out the EP into a full length record and the result of that is “Host Desecration” which sees the original four tracks remastered and spread out amongst five new cuts for a more complete offering as Eric Detablan (Drums) and Eric Sexton-Dorsett (Bass, Rhythm Guitars) are once again joined by their old friend, guitarist, singer and producer Kevin Hahn (Dead Conspiracy, Poison Idea, Panzer God) with the purpose of writing Heavy Metal inspired by an internal need to slam accepted dogma and to shed light on a dark past that is largely forgotten.

What Sleepless have done with “Host Desecration” is really interesting because they’ve taken all the new material and put together the cuts that best fit together overall, the result of which is something that has really great flow as well as sounding more complete, to the point that if you didn’t know that “Blood Libel” existed as an EP before listening to “Host Desecration” you wouldn’t be able to pick out the tracks that were on the original record simply by listening to this one. That is in part at least due to the remastering of the older material but also because they’ve kept the same guitar and bass tones as well as using the same recording studio, Opal Studios in Portland Oregon, to create it. As we mentioned in our original review of “Blood Libel“, as a project Sleepless take inspiration from bands like Witherfall, Sanctuary and Iced Earth for their sonic creations, disposing of the ear splitting Death Metal of Dead Conspiracy and instead march forward with a fresh vim and vigour and here they continue that sonic journey.

Sleepless blend Traditional Metal with Thrash for the most part but also have the ability to surprise like a Psychological Horror Thriller with left field ideas that expand their horizons in the most unexpected of ways as on more than a couple of occasions they produce the kind of instrumental passages you might have expected to hear from “Miss Machine” era The Dillinger Escape Plan by making use of odd time signatures and it’s that which one might call Progressive or even Avant-garde. For the most part that works really well, the one time it doesn’t is on “There’s Something In The Fog” because somehow they manage to lose the eerie haunting atmosphere they create by taking the dynamic a little bit too far and it becomes disjointed. The flip side of that coin is “Diviner Of Truth” which goes all out to the Avant-garde side and is a stone cold winner, sounding like heavier version of something that Mike Patton might create. Unlike most frontmen Hahn is with lead guitar work as well as vocals and he nails both, making sure as to leave a few rough edges including a glorious whammy bar moment in “Blood Libel (A Vampire Tale)”, his clean vocals the perfect accompaniment for the bands style, curiously though the lyrics are all inked by Eric Sexton-Dorsett so perhaps he is the man behind the grassy knoll. His riffs are equally delicious, the heavier take on Traditional Metal meaning that everything has an edge and some bite to it provided by those Thrash inspirations. His namesake Eric Detablan is very much the perfect partner, providing all the rhythmical groove and swagger that is needed along with that Death Metal drive which means that none of these songs are allowed to sink in the middle or go off wandering. All in all a thoroughly listenable record that stands out from the pack thanks to some fresh ideas that go a long way to ensuring that it will get the attention that it deserves  [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. The King Who’s Not There
2. Bite The Hands That Bleed
3. There’s Something In The Fog
4. Host Desecration
5. Diviner Of Truth
6. Blood Libel (A Vampire Tale)
7. Deluded Hordes
8. Mushroom Clouds At Night
9. The Man Who Could Not Sleep

Host Desecration” by Sleepless is out 15th April 2022 via Metal Warrior Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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