Jun 14, 2011

Sleestak - The Fall Of Altrusia ...

BIO;
DOOM. PSYCHEDELIA. STONER ROCK. The three terms which solidify and justify the existence of this musical anomaly known as SLEESTAK.

Formed in late 2003 with former members of Sixinch, Atomic Number 9, and Planet Delirium, Sleestak have become one of the midwest's most unique bands, gaining fans in the region and abroad with their metal/psychedelic fused doom rock. Sometimes labeled a "metal jam band", the band often delve into the bluesy realms of improvisation and embrace free-flowing instrumentals, taking the music into epic mind-altering depths. Through live demos, bootlegs, and studio recordings over the past couple years, Sleestak have garnered radio play, media praise, and positive comparisons to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Clutch, Monster Magnet, Isis, Colour Haze, The Melvins, Godflesh, Ten Years After, and other groups that thrive on experimentation, originality, and heaviness. The "Skylon Express" full length début album was officially released May 2010 in digital format worldwide and can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Napster, and other digital media outlets. Featuring 8 songs that span the first 4 years of the band's existence showcasing a disregard for a standard style of music and a sure love of strangeness and experimentation.

One thing is certain - it's HEAVY.

2010 also brings the band's effort "The Fall Of Altrusia", set to begin recording in mid-July. This will not be a typical album by any standard. One can expect a journey, an experience like no other that will take the listener for a mind trip of emotions for nearly 60 minutes. Greatly influenced by other epic long-playing compositions from the likes of Cathedral, Sleep, Ufomammut, and Pink Floyd, "The Fall Of Altrusia" promises to deliver the psychotropic goods. ( Sleestak Music.Com )

THE REVIEW OF "THE FALL OF ALTRUSIA"

The bio above pretty much sums up where Sleestak are coming from with their music. A pulverizing blend of doom, stoner, psychedelic rock that embraces the free-form attitude of the early 70's with the modern no-holds barred heaviness of the current heavy music acts. The key word in the bio though is 'originality' as the guys from Sleestak have developed their own unique sound over the years and they have left their own mark on the doom, stoner scene that is unquestionably all theirs. The band doesn't try to hide their influences but they take them to a whole new level creating a sound and style that is original without losing that classic-edge just for the sake of experimentation and variance. Their new album, 'The Fall Of Altrusia' is a landmark recording for the band because you can hear in these grooves that Sleestak have reached a whole new level of playing and composition and they are not content with just pushing out a typical stoner-doom album. This album is a monster that is set to be released any day now and it has already got a confirmed spot in my top 10 for 2011 so I better explain why......

The track-listing is split into chapters on the albums artwork and that is fitting as these songs do seem like pieces of a much bigger concept both structurally and thematically. The title of the album relates to the ancestors and descendants of Modern Sleestak known as the Altrusians, Sleestak being these green humanoid creatures with both reptilian and insectoid features. Anybody remember the old television show 'Land of the Lost' - visit YouTube and watch some old clips and that might help you fill in the blanks surrounding the concept behind the name of the band and this album title. Lyrically this album is great and very interesting but at the end of the day, it is all about the instrumentation and in that department, this album is stunning.

From the intro piece of 'In The Beginning' the album takes on you on a journey in the fine tradition of cinematic progressive rock but with of course extreme doom-laden heaviness. The opening 10 minutes of the album is full of loud/quiet breaks, varied vocal approaches from hollering growls to emotionally draining crooning that is wonderfully hypnotic and surprising soothing. Matt Schmitz has out-done himself on this album, not only in the multi-layered guitar work but also in the outstanding variance he displays in his vocal performance. Musically Sleestak crossover many genres and emotions and the main reference point that keeps on cropping up is Pink Floyd as the band have the same kind of haunting ambience that can be heard on Floyd albums such as 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' and 'Obscured By Clouds.'

The term 'psychotropic' really sums up the vibe of 'The Fall Of Altrusia' especially in sections of music as in what occurs around the 15 to 20 minute mark in the albums running time. Note that while the tracks are split into chapters, they all melt into one another and 'In The Beginning', 'Exciled From The City', 'The Prophecy Of The Great Sleep,' 'Regression Within The Hive,' 'Disturbance Of The Cocoon,' The Marshall Prophecy,' and 'Pakuni Shaman Chant Of The Altrusian Moth' are all seamlessly woven together to form nearly one hour of mesmerizing sonic brilliance and enchanting story-telling. There is of course been some monumental epic concepts in rock from Rush's '2112' to Yes and their mind-blowing 'Close To The Edge' track and 'The Fall Of Altrusia' can safely be regarded in the same-light as those classics.

The music flows and breathes hypnotic ambience but also is wonderfully well-balanced between mellow, floating sections and ear-shattering doom-laden riffing passages. By the time the 30 minute mark is reached, the music is in cruise-control with a psychedelic, haunting and emotionally draining feel to the arrangement but soon as you are ready to leave for the cosmos, an apocalyptic evilness is unleashed but echos of Floydian soundscapes again reappear with synthesizer played by Adam Bartell. The music continues to move and evolve and it never gets stuck in the one direction. One thing that is maintained throughout is the atmosphere which is pure space-rock for the most part but with a sinister, apocalyptic edge and the vibe only gets more darkened the closer it gets to its conclusion. The last few minutes of this monster piece of music is simply awe-inspiring and when it is all over, the listener is left breathless and emotionally crippled.

Without a doubt Sleestak have changed direction in many respects from their earlier work. While this still has its moments of doom-laden sabbathian riffery and stoner-metal sonic excess, it is a major leap into the realms of progressive rock and conceptual space-rock. It is not overly complex in terms of musicianship but in terms of arrangement, this album is monumental to the extreme. Obviously this album was not thought up overnight, this is a well-executed, very ambitious piece of work but there is also a free-flowing jammy feel to a lot of the albums passages. I can't say much more except this is a surprise release - I did not see this coming at all. If you liked their other releases, I am sure this album will be on 'your must-have' list already but be ready to be blown away by the expansiveness and the depth that this album has to offer. ATTENTION; Fans of psychedelic rock, progressive rock and heavy-music fans who love albums with a concept behind them - Your album has arrived.......Don't let this one pass you by.......10/10

Sleestak Official Site
Sleestak @ MySpace

1 comment :

  1. I am a fan of all those types of music. I guess I need to listen to this today!

    ReplyDelete

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