Review: “Divine Recalibration” by Sleepsculptor

The story goes that after three years at the grindstone, line up changes threatened to see an end to Sleepsculptor by poison, noose or knife. The Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania-based group, who originally formed in 2018, then decided to take a leap of faith and post on social media about host virtual vocalist auditions and despite being thousands of miles away, Florent Curatola of Canada by way of France was the one who nailed it. Together they then began to build what would become “Divine Recalibration”, only meeting in person for the first time when the band entered the studio with producer Matt Guglielmo (Cryptodira, Spite, Seeyouspacecowboy) in March 2022, where they recorded no less than fifteen tracks…

Getting off to a thunderous start the spine juddering “Shattered Nerve” combines incendiary angular riffs with tinges of electronics as if Every Time I Die did a collaboration with, pulverising, heavy and rattling every nerve and throwing you into a state of system shock if you weren’t expecting it. The turbulent, violent abrasions continue into “Panacea” with staccato riff breaks a plenty, Curatola’s shriller unclean vocal tones cutting against the deeper growl of bassist Travis Antoniello to lethal effect. Chaotic and heavy, it punches hard, attacking from all angles until the victim, also known as the would be listener, is left in a heap on the ground, dazed and confused as to what is going on. A melting pot of heavy sounds that has been distilled down into a mix of Metallic Hardcore with crispy bits “Chrysalis” keeps the torcher going with another short, sharp, shock of a cut, ending on a warped guitar note that serves as momentary respite. Samples add to the reign of terror with some inhuman kit work from drummer James Slattery, who decimates the weak and thins the herd with his performances on this record. There are a couple of points where the cuts flow into each other like a river to the sea with a non existent transition as the band dispose of the usual verse and chorus blend and go hell for leather. “Second Sight” is one of those, another burst of vicious tongued violence that has a sumptuous breakdown in the middle. In truth the performances are so energetic they’re as addictive as the latest designer drug, the heart racing and the head pounding as the audio injection races through the ear drums. The extremes are exactly that – extreme – with the band often touching the void from Hardcore, to Metalcore, Deathcore and even Powerviolence within a single track, “An Equivalent Exchange” driving home the nails of the theory with a blood stained battle axe.

Eerie instrumental interlude “Lavage De Cerveau” is a classic horror film soundscape that harks back to 1999 era Slipknot at its bitter twisted roots. A palate cleansing moment that sets the teeth on edge before the chaotic uplift into the 117 second brain haemorrhage inducing Metallica Hardcore vent that is “Venerate“. A bombastic cluster bomb of a tune it is so violent that it will trigger an instant circle pit when the band take it to the stage. You had an ear wax problem? You were constipated? One listen to this and that’s no longer an issue. Slowing things down half a notch “Beyond The Veil” floods the ear drums with off kilter riffs, the band opting for a mid tempo chugger the the middle of the album and then deciding that’s not what they want to do half way though with chaotic tapping sections building a crushing density. Breakdowns pile up like pancake stacks at the waffle house before it comes to its bitter end. What Chad Kapper thought he was getting into when he was asked to add guest vocals to “Rite Of Agony“, god only knows but he goes head to head with Curatola like the two are moose testing the strength of their antlers. A vicious little ditty, the barbs on this one dig deep and take with them chunks of flesh and that’s before the thunderbolt to the brains of “Every Word Erased“. You will know Sleepsculptor by the trail of the dead, brains of listers imploding before they fall to the ground.

Cutting from a different angle, “Pry” brings back the break beats as the caustic abrasions create a tension filled atmospheric, the rhythmic pummelling second to none as the band aren’t afraid of filling longer instrumental sections with blunt force trauma. “Plaster Saint” finds the band joined by Cameron McBride of Methwitch fame, an all to obvious decision given the bands sound and direction and together they do their work like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Violent, chaotic and heavy it’s disorientating and yet incredibly good fun, a white knuckle thrill ride that simply keeps giving and leaves you exhausted by the final moments. “Les Jumeaux” then kicks back with 44 seconds of instrumental hammering that severs as an introduction piece to “Symbiote Reborn“. By this point the whirlwinds of chaotic guitars and off kilter rhythms have become the norm but this one has an eerie, haunting undercurrent that sets it apart as it plays out. Stirring the senses before a dirge laden bass finale that cries out for more, its a mortuary filler that poses the question of just how the band will go with the title track. What they do is take everything that “A Divine Recalibration” is as an album and pour it into a single vessel of cohesive blood and thunder before an avant-garde melodic moment with clean vocals in the final third catches you completely off guard. There’s no two ways about it, having listened to this, you’re going to be asking yourself what you’ve just heard – before diving into it again [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Shattered Nerve
  2. Panacea
  3. Chrysalis
  4. Second Sight
  5. An Equivalent Exchange
  6. Lavage De Cerveau
  7. Venerate
  8. Beyond The Veil
  9. Rite Of Agony (ft. Chad Kapper of A Dark Orbit, Frontierer, Ninetrigger and When Knives Go Skyward)
  10. Every Word Erased
  11. Pry
  12. Plaster Saint (ft. Cameron McBride of Methwitch)
  13. Les Jumeaux
  14. Symbiote Reborn
  15. A Divine Recalibration

Divine Recalibration” by Sleepsculptor is out 28th April 2023 via Silent Pendulum Records with pre-orders available here.

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