Posts Tagged ‘free’

Blackgaze as a genre has emerged from the underground. Combining both the dark atmosphere that’s present in black metal with the dreamy likes of shoegaze it has captivated a small fanbase among both metal and non-metal fans. Such bands as Amesoeurs, Alcest, Shyy and Cold Body Radiation are a part of this genre.

Sleeping Peonies (yup, that’s right, Sleeping Peonies, not Sleeping Ponies or Sleeping Penis) is one such band that fusion the musical styles of both shoegaze and black metal. Now, a lot of you trve kvlt listeners will probably despise this for not being core (even though the artist doesn’t try to be all satanic and corpsepainted), but for those of you who are a tad bit more open-minded and looks at music as music and not for their kvltness, Sleeping Peonies will turn out to be quite an interesting experience.

Sleeping Peonies, with the horrible-to-write third album s l o w l y d i s a p p e a r i n g (from now on Slowly Disappearing), continues in such manners as the previous albums Rose Curl, Sea Swirl, and Ghosts and Other Things. Actually it would be more correct to categorize them as EP’s, and not albums, as they all consist of pretty short length and few tracks.

Slowly Disappearing as a whole consists of a unique sound. Instead of having very distinct instrumental sounds, the album sound much more like a whole with instruments blending into each other and creating a totality. The keyboard is allthough pretty easy to segregate from the rest of the music. Its dreamy and sometimes 80s-influenced sound is very melancholic and moody, which in turn makes the dark atmosphere rely more on the keyboard and not so much on vocals or guitars.

The album opens with the song Dreamrrz, a short song under three minutes in length. We get a taste of what’s to come. It opens rather euphoric with keyboards, but soon it expands into the atmospheric wholeness of noise the instruments create and continues with it throughout to the end. Cemetery Kisses follows up with a bit more length. Here again opening with keyboards before a backgrounded sound of pounding drums build up.

I mentioned that the music sounds much more like a whole. The listener should be noted that this creates a rather noisy all-around sound. Those of you who are familiar with Nadja, Earth, Tim Hecker or other droning bands will definitely know what I’m talking about. After Cemetary Kisses comes the album-titled song Slowly Disappearing (this time it’s actually spelt this way). It’s another short song under three minutes in length. The midsection of this song is pretty dramatic, with post-rock infuenced guitar shredding with the distinct sound of weeping guitars.

Snowbound in Hazel and Furs is the fourth track and it comes with the length of five and a half minutes. It’s probably my favorite from the EP. The song sets in motion with comforting melodies on the keyboard before it continues to build up with lament guitars and slight drumming. The song ends in a relaxing manner, instruments slowly dimming away one at a time.

The two last songs, Blowing out Candles and A Timid Eyelash Flutter. Are two tracks that are pretty unlike the rest. While Blowing out Candles is one and a half minute of boring ambient interlude, A Timid Eyelash Flutter ends the album modus operandi to the aforementioned acts such as Nadja. It’s a slow two minute track with droning guitars and keyboard, also with no drums or vocals. It is dark and harsh, but also soothing in ways.

So, despite that Sleeping Peonies is probably being bookmarked as h i p s t e r y and p r e t e n t i o u s by some, I found myself enjoying this album quite a lot. Its melancholic atmosphere is captivating for the listener and the use of keyboard is good without being cheesy and overdramatic.

PS: It’s currently free to download from Sleeping Peonies bandcamp page. Go grab it!


Recommended tracks: Cemetary Kisses, Snowbound in Hazel and Furs, A Timid Eyelash Flutter

Martin Sollien


Cloudkicker – Fade

Posted: August 9, 2012 by Fredrik Schjerve in Uncategorized
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This release is just the first in a quadrology of reviews I will write, based on a feature at, which recommended these four albums, each suffering from lack of publicity. Even though I might reach just a few people, I have at least tried to spread knowledge about the quality these records possess.

Cloudkicker has often been lumped in with the current Djent-scene, despite the fact that the band (or the artist, Cloudkicker consists of one sole member) is not playing djent by any means. At least not anymore. Ben Sharp, the mastermind behind the sonic venture called Cloudkicker, has got a habit of hanging his musical style between every record. So though he has played Djent-related music before, he now produces music in an entirely different manner.

The up-to-date Cloudkicker conjures a melodic, post-rock influenced, though only in the slightest matter, amalgam of pure songcraft and catchy ideas. Clear hooks and sonic imagery is the new mixture’s selling point, as Fade is equal parts catchy and cunning. “From The Balcony” unleash the accessibility straight away, with a bass-underlined harmony which evolves into a large hook. The record is immensely smooth-sounding and as relaxing as an album can be while still achieving the term of “metal”. The song is an early highlight, containing both huge riffs and acoustic, chordal interplay. While being relatively straigh-forward and captivating, Fade is also a interplay of interesting ideas and explorative songwriting, making the record a listen I can’t imagine any music fan would deny a great one.

The Focus” enters next, boasting massive drums and a happy summertime-style riffing, before album centerpiece, “Seattle” gets set to impress with its ten minutes running time. A moody intro soon kicks into a polyrythmic layering of rythm, lead and feedback-like melody. The resulting mixture is a true instrumental victory, and you don’t realise until the part ends, that you have been listening to the same riff for three minutes. The work laid down during the ten minutes feels like the melodic side of djent, stripped of its complexity and heaviness, polished and perfected to the extent of a near revelatory product. After the melodic epiphany reaches its end, we get a stream of descending acoustic notes, which is the part of which the sonic imagery enters. The traffic-like notes evokes a time lapse-shot of Seattle city shifting between day and night in a flutter of blinking lights and colours. Unfortunately, the aftermath comes across as a bit tame in comparison, but the last minutes are saved by the recurring clean melody, which enters near the end.

The rest of the album varies between gentle, atmospheric mastery (Garage Show), sonic imagery of a shuttle searching for an alien source (Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown), a slight misstep (Making Will Mad), and the album’s subtle masterpiece, “Our Crazy Night”. To form a comclusion, Fade is a masterful achievement from a man that has managed to create magic before, and surely will do so yet again soon. There was not a single moment during the CD that I didn’t enjoy myself, and considering you can download it for free legally at Cloudkickers bandcamp page, there is no reason that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself either. You need a lot of talent to do a stylistic 180 degree-turn without messing things up, and though he has come close to doing that earlier (Let Yourself Be Huge), Ben Sharp has managed to do it merit-fully on Fade. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Recommended Tracks: From The Balcony, Seattle, Our Crazy Night

8.5/ 10

Fredrik Schjerve