Released: 2017, Art as Catharsis
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Sydney’s Adrift for Days continues to prove itself one of the doom scene’s best kept secrets. It’s been five years since 2012’s drone sludge masterpiece COME MIDNIGHT…, and in the time since then the band has been keeping busy with live performances, developing new artists for their Art as Catharsis label and apparently rebooting themselves musically. Normally, those kinds of creative moves are a harbinger of doom (pun possibly intended), but the band’s newest effort A SLEEPLESS GREY is a natural sounding evolution of where the band has been and where they may have yet to explore.
The most immediate difference between A SLEEPLESS GREY and the band’s previous output is the general tone of the new material. The clean, simple melodies that introduce “We Stare Into the Sky” stand in stark contrast to the dense, oppressive bottom end rumbling that was so prevalent across THE LUNAR MARIA and COME MIDNIGHT… Almost entirely distortion free save for a few roaring passages, it’s more akin to latter day to mid-career Anathema or Katatonia, but after letting their anti-depressant medication lapse for a few months. The title track slowly wanders in quiet psychedelia and gradually escalates into screaming madness, while “The Earth Begins to Shake” sounds like an offshoot of desert instrumentalists Earth. “Feast of Fools” comes the closest to the band’s more aggressive past, while “When The Knot Unties” might possibly be the first prog metal/drone crossover. At times, A SLEEPLESS GREY sounds like a different band entirely, but it’s never offensive to the senses or completely out of place.
It would’ve been easy enough for Adrift for Days to craft a more sonically direct extension of COME MIDNIGHT…, but the risks that the band takes on A SLEEPLESS GREY demonstrate themselves to be a more satisfying option. A SLEEPLESS GREY will require more attention and replay to fully resonate, and it bucks many of the genre trends that the band themselves have been a party up until now. That being said, it’s an intriguing new chapter for the band.