Reviewed: April 1, 2022
Released: April 15, 2022, Metal Warrior Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Portland’s SLEEPLESS play a very interesting modern technical thrash with some traditional metal overtones. Featuring former and present members of underground death metal band DEAD CONSPIRACY, their 2021 EP, Blood Libel, was rather well received. Now comes their debut full length, Host Desecration. Admittedly I am unfamiliar with anything they had done and my first impressions were not as enthusiastic as others. It took me a while for this to grow on me and, while not a perfect album, I believe I understand what this band is trying to do.
The albums opens with one of the best songs on the album, “The King Who’s Not There.” This is a driving technical song with some cool crunchy riffing. The vocals are a higher pitch with a more traditional metal flare. The follow up, “Bite the Hands That Bleed” is another catchy and driving number. The riffs are crunchy and heavy. Even though these songs don’t flow in the traditionally sense, this track has a really catchy chorus. There is not much in the way of catchy melodies on this album due to the prog-metal and modern metal influences on display here. The abrupt time changes affect the flow of these songs in some places. The title track suffer the most from those modern metal influences and some strange dissonance in the chorus and the riffing.
The guitar work here is technically good and it’s obvious there is a lot of talent in this band. The riffs are mostly done well and catchy and the solos are competent; it’s just that some of the songs are rather chaotic and disjointed. Some of the vocal melodies do not sync with the riffing and the tempo. Once again the title track and certain parts of “Blood Libel (A Vampire Tale)” in the middle section. There is a high note hit but it feels out of place and almost like the vocals were meant for a different song. Not all songs suffer from this; “Mushroom Clouds at Night” is a rather cool thrash metal tune that has some cool riffs and a blistering solo while the closer has some great moments and some that do not seem to make sense. I’m not averse to abrupt tempo changes and irregular timing, but when it becomes disjointed and chaotic, it does not make for pleasant listening.
This not a terrible album and it is very clear the level of talent on display here. The traditional metal sounds outweigh the modern metal sounds and as I have nothing against some modern metal, I just think in this instance the dissonance was a little too much for me in places.