Void of Sleep - Tales Between Reality and Madness
Aural Music/Code666
7 songs (45:35)
Release year: 2013
Aural Music/Code666
Reviewed by Charles
Void of Sleep is a Black Sabbath song, right? Actually no… Black Sabbath have songs about voids, and songs about sleep, but never in that particular combination. Nonetheless, I initially imagined that this Italian band was named in their honour. Listening to Tales Between Reality and Madness, it would make sense, because this rather neat stonerish doom album tries hard to evoke the “heavy yet kooky” atmosphere of that band circa 1972-1973. It wouldn’t quite do to write them off as a mere tribute to that fecund period, however, because their debut record is also informed by other things as well. There are psychedelic flirtations and harsher, more modern sludge ideas. And it even contains a striking alt/grunge streak which pleases me greatly, given that I’ve spent much of the last fortnight listening to old Soundgarden records.

Most importantly, there are plenty of hooks. Opener Blood on my Hands rolls along nicely, a bit like Goatsnake, with its bouncing stoner riff and jaunty rock and roll vocals. Jolly, but features some moments of alt-metal bass twanging that hint at a more quirky character seeking to get out. The record soon diverts into oddball balladry. See for example, the interlude section in Wisdom of Doom. Similarly, Lost in the Void is a lengthy, tangled track which features an incongruous- in a good way- major key chorus. Both of these things are nice takes on classic Sabbath moves.

There are too many bands that either play really fast, or play really slow, and have that as their “thing”. The album, to its credit, mixes things up. The Great Escape of the Giant Stone Man, for example, enters third in the track listing and, with its up-tempo riffing- which sounds like Kyuss given an adrenaline shot- sends a raucous pulse of energy through the record. Its surprisingly plaintive chorus is more akin to Soundgarden; reflecting a real effort to add a distinctive edge to the songwriting, putting me in mind of the spirit of Superunknown. Void of Sleep’s penchant for grungy anthems is even more obvious on Ghost of Me; an evocative ballad which could easily have been sung by Layne Staley. A good debut which connects with doom traditions without being too derivative.

Killing Songs :
Blood on my Hands, Lost in the Void, The Great Escape of the Giant Stone Man
Charles quoted 75 / 100
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