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Slow (USA) : Unsleep

Slow craft a mesmerising and beautiful feeling of drowning and self-dissolution.

ďBlessed is the one who does not sleep.Enter the body of a man who takes his own life and drowns. He may have escaped his slave masters, but the eternity and solitude spent after shows quite clearly that the ocean is not just sparkling lights and lack of oxygen... Body-loss, unsleep, mental decay, and eternal solitude tears at the fate of the color-bound.Ē

These are the words put forth by Slow encompassing their latest release entitled 'Unsleep'. And it is this exact feeling, the feeling of drowning and self-dissolution, which has been beautifully crafted for the listener to experience in its entirety.

First off, getting the factual information of the band out of the way, Slow is the sole-brainchild of Markov Soroka, hailing from Portland, Oregon in the United States. Homing in on the album itself, 'Unsleep' was released digitally on the 13th of April, 2014, along with CD format presses prepared in conjunction with Black Plague Records and Metallic Media. The album tracklist consists of 5 stages of drowning: 'I - Stem', 'II - Unsleep', 'III - Kuril Kamchatka', 'IV - Kermadec' and 'V - Mariana'.

Unlike many of my favourite albums that involved a certain period of time to grow on me in terms of enjoyability, understanding and forming a connection; 'Unsleep' was quite the opposite. I fell in love with it immediately. There is so much emotional and aesthetic depth to this album that words hardly come close to justifying its wonder. There is also an extremely high level of intelligence that comes to the surface as the listener trudges along the journey of 'Unsleep' from beginning to end. From beautiful, soft plucking guitar build-ups to fully-radiated funeral-riffage and howling leadwork - it slowly becomes apparent that there is a highly sophisticated design of control which has been employed on the album across musical structure, composition and harmonic/melodic manipulation. A significant amount of creative thought and energy has been put into the entire conception of this album, as opposed to the crude-merging of a bunch of non-sequential riffs to forcefully fit into a skeleton of a song-piece. The album contains several sections that constitute build-up sequences originating from slow, melodic clean-plucked sequences (which I personally found to be truly mesmerizing and immeasurably beautiful), unobtrusively pulling the listener into a vortex of pure emotion and awareness, unbound by the limitations and judgements of thought.

Do not be fooled by my words, however: this album does not solely constitute a collection of soft guitarwork progressions and ethereal ambience. Slow demonstrate their equally passionate stance and formidable skill for brutality, the self-titled second track serving as the best example for this. The unforeseen attack of thunderous guitar riffage, throbbing drums and beastly roars - all unleashed into a unified flurry of power, anger and vengeance (and almost unassumingly plunging the band into black metal spheres).

Perhaps the only element responsible for this album falling slightly short of absolute perfection would be certain (technical) aspects of the production. This isnít an entirely negative effect, as in fact the overall theme of production very much complements the band's music. However, there are factors such as level imbalances, particularly with the sonic shaping of the drums that lack body and vitality in the lower-mid frequency regions. There also seems to be a loss of intelligibility and presence of the drums, particularly during peak sections.

On the other hand, one particularly fascinating facet of the production was the almost hypnotically-inducing characteristic of the guitar leads. In fact, itís primarily these sequences that subliminally seem to pull in the listenerís mind and soul into a meditative state of surrender, and at the same time displaying Slowís mastery over effects manipulation, shaping and control.

'Unsleep' is an honest reminder of the loneliness and emptiness that exists deep within each and every one of us, and it simultaneously volunteers to serve as a gentle companion along this arduous journey of solitude that each one of us is inevitably faced with at some point in our lives.

The album is available for full digital download on Slowís Bandcamp page (ĎName your priceí no minimum). Physical CDís are also available for a modest price of $8. Donít think twice, grab a copy of this wonderful album today, visit the bandís page and drop them a kind word or two of appreciation for their efforts.

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. I - Stem
2. II - Unsleep
3. III - Kuril Kamchatka
4. IV - Kermadec
5. V - Mariana

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the Slow (USA) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-09-08 by Trishay J Trada
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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