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Sleepless – Host Desecration

Host Desecration
by Alan G at 17 May 2022, 7:00 PM

“Host Desecration” by metalcore troupe SLEEPLESS, has been pitched! This small-scale LP release from the Portland, Oregon trio tailors to niche metal audiences, fans of the occult or progressive genres under the banner of metal.  This sonic outfit has a small online following that may extend in variety after the current release and some touring within the metal scene. “Host Desecration” is their second album released since 2020’s, “Blood Libel, A Vampire’s Tale”, another small-scale, journeyman album released under the flagship of Metal Warrior Records.

The musical dexterity, technique and soundscapes deployed by this outfit are well arranged for a mere trio of musicians, the band are also best fit to the genre, heavily steeped in bass, drum, and blistering guitar motifs, even ambient keyboard synthesizers are presented to achieve effect. SLEEPLESS’s cascade of angst and social antagonism gifts us something from the venerable “golden-age” of 1980s metal. Overall, the album could be constructed as a rallying cri de Coeur for metal scene music generally. Kevin Hahn’s majestic vocal theatrics sound somewhat like contemporary artists such as THE MARS VOLTA. Nevertheless, it is quite hard to apprehend the commercial merit of this ambitious album. Perhaps that is the intention, at least, I hope so.

To encapsulate, this album, Track one, “The King Who’s Not There” is an elegant display of interloping guitars with accompanying drums. The unnerving synth projected in the track becomes an interesting trope throughout this album. Distinctive thematic context is established through lyrics that hark back to a forgotten, iron age, past, evoking the “rapid charge” of “the dogs of war”. The guitars seem to swirl in a spectral panorama that challenges social convention yet remains vividly cliched. Fans of the genre may appreciate this.

To break things down further, Tracks like, track 3, “There’s Something in the Fog”, apply Wah guitar effect to create an aura of suspense that is filled with chaos and anguish. The guitar intros are quite well deployed, the lyrics are at times indistinct, and the band could use more experiment, particularly with the dual-guitar emblem. I anticipate fans of the genre would certainly like to see this aspect developed further. Overall, SLEEPLESS’s tracks are suspense-driven, evoking everyone from IRON MAIDEN to ALICE COOPER, displaying a consummate effort to embellish musical process and establish themselves in the genre, presumedly with the metal touring or festival circuit in mind. Track 5, “Diviner Of Truth” vehemently decries what could be album cri de Coeur, stating “Out of darkness come the light/It’s a fight for your life”. Central to this album is a battle-infused struggle or agon. Moreover, track 8, “Mushroom Clouds At Night”, evokes Avenged Sevenfold with its bouncing guitar and symbolic lyrics. Track 9, “The Man Who Could Not Sleep”, closes with the lyrical cadence, “As the fire burns on”. I would consider tracks 1 and 8 to be stand-out tracks.

“Host Desecration” presents an interesting entry-level to metalcore and will undoubtedly be an invaluable steppingstone for the band. This album is filled with high energy, going full throttle on bass and guitar, delivering an album that possesses a certain idiosyncratic intensity that is well-engineered and produced, considering the budget. Overall, the album is something of a cathartic odyssey, evoking the performative b-movies of the 1980s. “Host Desecration” is steeped in the occult yet somehow strives to penetrate, it may be hard to decipher the commercial merit of this project, yet, as previously implied,  it does not pass without merit.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

Overall: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The King Who’s Not There
2. Bite the Hands That Bleeds
3. There’s Something in the Fog
4. Host Desecration
5. Diviner of Truth
6. Blood Libel (A Vampire Tale)
7. Deluded Hordes
8. Mushroom Clouds at Night
9. The Man Who Could Not Sleep
Eric Dorsett- Bass
Eric Detablan- Drums
Kevin Hahn – Vocals/Guitar
Record Label: Metal Warrior Records


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