Review – Godsleep: Thousand Sons of Sleep

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  • Bio: "Godsleep is a heavy rock band formed in Athens, Greece, in 2010, characterized as one of the most promising bands of the heavy/ psychedelic rock sound." - Bandcamp
  • Label: Self-release
  • Release Date: September 18th, 2015
  • Genre: Stoner Metal, Psychedelic Rock
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Godsleep is a four-piece act hailing from Athens, Greece, which happened to form back in 2010. Shortly after, the group cut their teeth with a four song promotional recording, earning them a spot on the list of “best rock” bands through 272 Records, as well as being heralded as one of the “most promising bands of the heavy/psychedelic rock sound” (according to a quote on their Facebook page). Since then, they have been putting their time in with live shows and festival appearances, all leading to the release of their debut full-length outing, Thousand Sons of Sleep. But does it live up to the early hype, or does this effort show a band that let the early praise go straight to their head?

Well, musically, Thousand Sons of Sleep is not bad at all. However, it’s not the most impressive or awe inspiring either. For the most part, this album seems to stick to the straight and narrow, tried-but-true aspects of the style without really going overboard with the many tropes of the stoner or psychedelic rock angle. Picture a mix of Black Sabbath-like smokiness in a crisp production with the ballsiness of your typical southern fried attitude, and you have a good idea what this heavy, lower tuned rock outfit has in store for you across the following forty-eight minutes. That is, if you factor in the watery effect on the Pantera-like rougher vocal performance that sounds horrible when applied.

Thankfully that hydro effect is only really used during “The Call”. This one seems to carry a bit of a war vibe to the laid back southern style used. The cleaner vocal approach often doesn’t work out too well, especially just past two minutes in when the song brings in a subtle sense of authority to the grooves. The guitar solo, however, is as catchy as it is lightly psychedelic, utilizing the clean sound of the chords to full effect while the louder bass guitar riffs work to alter things in your mind’s eye, slowly distorting colors or moving things around in specific patterns as the song builds to its heavier Clutch-esque conclusion. It all sounds good in description but, sadly, that trippy quality is the only aspect that really stands out.

There’s also “Wrong Turn”, which ends up more like a mixture of that particular band’s sound with infectious stoner metal riffs and the random doom metal creeping pace that helps accentuate more of a marshy southern sting than an abrasive, sandy deserted plateau the hooks themselves try to establish much of the time. And, up until about five minutes, it’s a superb combination that works well with the gritty vocal approach, not to mention gives this release a bit of a voice all its own. But then you get a burst of energy that ushers in more of a hardcore undertone that wraps things up in a fairly safe manner.

Godsleep

But that’s not all. “Thirteen” introduces that aforementioned Black Sabbath presence akin to the song “War Pigs” as far as the structure of the guitars is concerned in spots. You can even feel a war-themed sensation lurking in the dark, bulky background when the music decides to amp up into somewhat more epic territory, such as the guitar solo around two minutes in and the emotional blues fueled passage that follows. And then there’s “This Is Mine”, which almost takes the Red Fang formula and replaces the clean singing with rougher harmonizations, as well as throws some downright depressing riffs your way such as about a minute in, leaving you to feel like you’re sitting in some biker dive bar, choking on the smoke as this track plays in the background off the beat up old jukebox.

It isn’t that Thousand Sons of Sleep is at all bad. In fact, it blends together the sounds of some of the best bands that the doom/stoner metal and psychedelic rock worlds have representing them at this time, and that right there ends up the problem. Godsleep‘s sound is largely built around easily recognizable ideas by those very leaders of the style and, while it’s hard to find an original voice anymore, there’s little to really make you immediately pick this band out of the bunch. Is the potential there? Yes, it is, and you can pick up on those relatively unique aspects throughout the album. But, as a whole, Thousand Sons of Sleep still shows a band in its infancy. With a little fine tuning and a further journey down the right path, Godsleep may become a much more vital and recognizable name in the field. For now, we’re left with something that can just be considered a good album that often plays it a little too safe more often than not.

Digital review copy of this release provided by Godsleepvia Viral Propaganda PR.