Friday, 3 February 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Sail - "Slumbersong"

By: Ben Fitts

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/03/2017
Label: Hibernacula Records

 

Filled with gurgling riffs, exquisite composition, somber aesthetics and dangerous amounts of catchiness, “Slumbersong” is a mesmerizing record. Clearly aware of what is happening in music right now, “Slumbersong” makes distinct nods to contemporary acts such as Torche, Baroness, Mastodon and Pallbearer, while retaining a distinct sound and identity of its own.

“Slumbersong” CD//DD track listing:

 1). Praise And Hatred
2). Righteous
3). The Weight Of Gold
4). Ghosts
5). Bloodhound
6). The House
7). Old Tom
8). Shimmer
9). Slumbersong

The Review:  

“Slumbersong” (the band’s first release under the moniker Sail), sees the British stoner/sludge quartet formerly known as Husk achieve the perfect balance of infectious hooks, heavy riffing and flourishes of prog. Over a molten sea of oscillating grooves, Sail employ spacious, soaring vocal harmonies that are probably the root of all the Baroness comparisons they have been receiving lately. The guitar work on this album is characterized by crisp, beefy tones and an astute sense of melody; the guitar parts perfectly complement each other and the vocal lines with a skill seldom heard. 

“Slumbersong” demonstrates significant artistic change and growth for Sail since their days as Husk. The production is much less murky, the song structures are more inventive and “Slumbersong” exhibits a sort of meticulous composition and masterful song craft only hinted at by Husk. There is stylistic change as well, as the band further explores many of the new atmospheres and melodic sensibilities that they first toyed with on “Upon His Mountain” and all but abandoned the dirtier, more straightforward sounds found on “Seven Pyramids”.

“Slumbersong” waste no time displaying these changes. Opening track “Praise And Hatred” instantly bursts forth with eerie guitar melodies and a pummeling groove that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The most irresistible track on the album is certainly the next one, “Righteous”. Brimming with tight, effective hooks, “Righteous” is just over five minutes of shout along, head banging glory. The following track, “The Weight Of Gold” gives it close competition though, and it’s blend of toned down aggression, vocal emphasis, dark catchiness and solid tempo makes it the album’s best chance of being heard on rock radio if it ever had one.

The brief instrumental track “Bloodhound” is ninety-three seconds of phased out, fuzzy guitar strumming and dark ambience that is so intriguing that it is somewhat disappointing that the passage was not realized in the context of a more complete song. “The House”, a thundering, up-tempo battle cry of a song, sees Sail at their most joyous, with a vigorous pulse, stampeding riffs and pronounced dynamics. The album’s hardest hitting and sludgiest track, Poor Tom”, has grooves as deep as an ancient, buried god, creeping, anxiety provoking guitar leads, bombastic drumming and the harshest vocals to be found anywhere on the album. Poor Tomshows that Sail, despite their knack for crafting hooks, know how to appeal to fans of the more extreme end of the sludge spectrum. The acerbity of Poor Tom is distinctly contrasted by the lush, airy chimes that open the next and final track of the album, Shimmer”. The longest track on the album (at six minutes and fifty seven seconds), Shimmeris an immersive, celestial journey of wet, echoey tones and building dynamics. It is the perfect conclusion for “Slumbersong”.

Filled with gurgling riffs, exquisite composition, somber aesthetics and dangerous amounts of catchiness, “Slumbersong” is a mesmerizing record. Clearly aware of what is happening in music right now, “Slumbersong” makes distinct nods to contemporary acts such as Torche, Baroness, Mastodon and Pallbearer, while retaining a distinct sound and identity of its own. With this album, Sail have established themselves as an extremely exciting young band. Many will surely be anxiously waiting to see what they do next. 


Band info: Facebook | BandCamp

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