Sleepless – Host Desecration

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Reviewed: May 2022
Released: 2022, Metal Warrior Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes

Back in the 90s, we saw the birth and development of what would become known as groove metal. It came fairly naturally from the steps we’d seen taken by certain thrash bands as the 80s came to a close: some were slowing down, not out of lack of ability, but because it offered a new musical direction to explore. The hard-hitting aggression was maintained, but sheer frantic speed was being traded out for more tempered grooves. In its early days, this offshoot was known as post-thrash, and it’s this particular branch of the heavy metal tree that comes to mind while listening to Sleepless’ Host Desecration.

The precise and measured punches offered by the album really do feel deserving of the term “post-thrash”, and remind of some of the luminaries of those earlier groove days, perhaps most noticeably Coroner on Grin (“The King Who’s Not There” opens up sounding straight off of that particular album). Though this isn’t the pigeon-hole the album, as one of its strengths is the good deal of flavour it has to offer. At times the intricate and satisfying riff work calls proggy thrashers like Mekong Delta to mind, at times they cut loose with their more raw, punky influences (“There’s Something in the Fog” flirts with d-beat rhythms, while “Mushroom Clouds at Night” is a merciless onslaught), and some tracks even show off some funky or jazz-like rhythms mingling with the more frenetic ones (see album closer “The Man Who Could Not Sleep” for a fine, groovy example).

While Host Desecration doesn’t quite dive head-first into experimental territory, this sort of variety is definitely to its credit, and helps keep the listening experience fresh for those who open to it. It’s not an album to go into expecting all-out thrash blitzkrieg, and Kevin Hahn’s vocals might not be to everyone’s tastes, sitting quite high in the mix and throwing in a lot of doom/classic metal croons and wails. But if you’re open to something groove-like yet also adventurous, there’s a lot to enjoy here.


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Tracklisting:

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’s Tale)
7.) Deluded Hordes
8.) Mushroom Clouds at Night
9.) The Man Who Could Not Sleep

Band line-up:

Eric Sexton-Dorsett – Rhythm guitars, bass guitar
Kevin Hahn – Vocals, lead guitars
Eric Detablan – Drums

Websites:

www.instagram.com/sleepless_metal/ 
sleeplessmetal.bandcamp.com/