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Arctic Sleep - Passage Of Gaia Award winner

Arctic Sleep
Passage Of Gaia
by Matt Coe at 19 August 2014, 12:49 AM

Starting their career in 2005, this Mid-West USA band has released five full length albums to date – changing consistently in terms of a full band to now a two-piece outfit. Whatever works best is fine by me, as ARCTIC SLEEP has a sound that is very Doomy, definitely more on the Metal than Rock side, and features elements of Progressive, Drone, and Classical textures. Their sixth album “Passage of Gaia” contains 8 lush sounding tracks, spacious in their slow builds but very melodic in terms of the vocals.

The first thing that hit me is the darker, deep guitar tone – more of a mixture of Grunge acts like SOUNDGARDEN or ALICE IN CHAINS meets the early Death Metal of the mighty OBITUARY. Occasionally the arrangement veers into Drone-like territory, but never so much as to lose focus on the atmosphere at hand: check out “Green Dragon” as its 8:45 contains many chilling chord combinations very appealing to those who love the long lost TYPE O NEGATIVE. Conversely you’ll often get a song that has an uplifting melody and musical accompaniment to match – “Hyperion” being the easiest example, semi-progressive and very commercial oriented in comparison to the rest of the record.

Keith D employs intuitive drum programming and I believe tried his best to keep things semi-industrial without over-indulgence, a tough thing to do when using computer technology to achieve the sonic qualities you desire. He has a voice that is very soothing in an alternative, hypnotic fashion – bringing up thoughts of everything from ANATHEMA to PINK FLOYD on opener “The Staircase” and acoustic to electric driven “Solar Lament”. The duo know how to sequence an album as to get the most dramatic feelings to bubble to the surface – as it’s a hard album not to finish for every playback.

You get what you want out of music – in the case of ARCTIC SLEEP, their brand of Progressive, Atmospheric Doom will find a cult audience – and “Passage to Gaia” is that masterful of an album not to be left in the shadows.

4 Star Rating

1. The Staircase
2. Terra Vindicta
3. Green Dragon
4. Hyperion
5. Antipode
6. Passage of Gaia
7. Solar Lament
8. Destroy the Urn
Keith D – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Cello
Mike Gussis – Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 04 December 2022

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