Debut albums can be a tricky thing to crack for a band, but with a large hall of experience in previous outfits, Black Shapes have no trouble hitting the nail on the head. ‘Sleep, Sleep, Sleep’ shows off the band’s original blend of dirty, sludgy, stoner metal with a hard-hitting hardcore sound which creates a debut record to reckoned with.
The album kicks into its dark and miserable tone straight from the opening roar of ‘Treason, Heresy And Witchcraft’, as Gareth Evans‘ gritty and pain-filled vocals compliment the crushing waves of instrumental sludge. The track also instantly shows off Black Shapes‘ experiential side with eery choir like vocal fills. The band experiment with this eeriness throughout the album, and each track has its own individual moments of darkness. It’s clear that Black Shapes aren’t interested in recording the same track twice, or sounding anything like anyone else.
‘This Requiem’ is a brilliant follow-up to the opener, as it switches from a slow stripped down, raw vocal led verse into an absolutely manic piece of hardcore that would intimidate any grindcore band. The album then slips into the immense ‘Sin Of Sinners’. You can tell why it’s the album’s single as it’s the most accessible, yet it’s still a head crusher. These three tracks make for an intense opening to an album, but then Black Shapes hit us with an absolute curve ball with the atmospheric ‘Sleep With The Gods’, which has obviously been influenced by Black Sabbath‘s own ‘Planet Caravan’ whilst on a creepy acid trip.
The album never stops delivering some of the most interesting and imaginative songs in hardcore, if you want to label them as that, but quite frankly Black Shapes are in a league of their own. They’re sonically beyond any labels or genres you want to stick on them, in turn making ‘Sleep, Sleep, Sleep’ not only one of the most interesting debuts to listen to, but one of the best albums of the year.
Written by Jack King
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.