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Void of Sleep – Metaphora

Void of Sleep
by Gary Hernandez at 29 February 2020, 10:44 PM

VOID OF SLEEP is a five-piece Progressive Sludge Metal band out of Ravenna, Italy. They formed in 2010 and have issued one EP, two full-length albums, and one split during their decade long tenure. On March 27, 2020 they release their third LP, “Metaphora.” As the title would suggest, the album is a further step in their evolution, expanding their sonic exploration into new spaces and revamping their line up with Andrea on bass and Momo on synth. It also delves into the ever-changing headspace of our planet. In their words, “We live in a time of rekindled fear and hatred, of social relations and civility in crisis, of apathy and marginalization. ‘Metaphora’ translates the way we see this world into music.”

Remember those Reese’s commercials from the 70’s, or maybe 80’s? You know, the ones where one dude says, “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” and the other counters with, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” Apart from the innuendo, that’s what this mix of Prog and Sludge is like. Prog fans will find the Doom intonations add a sense of foreboding and somberness. Tonally, it suggests that darkness does indeed this way come. Sludge fans will relish the complex compositions which add a sense of range and rich texture. Analogically, it suggests that the conflicts of this era are multifaceted. The combination is intriguing and gripping, making this album remarkably compelling.

Overall, this is a clean album — the vocals are mostly clear, though at times they can rage harsh; the riffs are largely heavy and fat, but also verge into the sharps and flats; the percussion work is crisp and exacting like Allo is keeping rhythm to some mathematical equation running in his head; the synthesizers add mood and atmosphere, but also push the melodies along; and the bass work is intricate and, similar to the drums, pace out a variety of time signatures.

Lyrically, the album follows a philosophical theme offering a critical perspective of life, the universe, and everything. Personally, I found it a nice break from the political ranting of Thrash and evil-infused night-terrors of Black and Doom. Production-wise, like most Prog albums, these lads don’t mess around with the mix. Audiophiles will love this album.

With only seven tracks (though a solid 46 minutes), it is hard to single out ones that standout over others, but I’ll go with “Iron Mouth” for its dark, crushing riffs, “Unfair Judgments” for its bleak undertone, and “Master Abuser” which comes across as both aggressive and introspective, ending on downright disturbing. “Modern Man” is also very good, but felt a bit pedantic — although it might simply be down to the use of second person. Whenever someone uses “you” in their lyrics or writing, it comes across as accusatory and my initial reaction is “uh-uh.”

There is a familiarity about the album. Some will hear musical phrasing similar to OPETH, let’s say the “Ghost Reveries” album. Others will hear some TOOL, probably from “Aenima.” Does this make the album derivative, is it a nod to legacy, or are there only so many notes on any given instrument? Discuss.

All together, there is a lot to like about “Metaphora.” The musicianship is amazing and there aren’t annoying subtleties that ruin it — the vocals are well-suited, the synths don’t distract, and there aren’t any spoken word narratives. The album is heavy enough to vent and deep enough to provoke reflection. Tucked neatly at the nexus of Prog and Sludge, this is an album to have.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 10


4 Star Rating

1. The Famine Years
2. Iron Mouth
3. Waves of Discomfort
4. Unfair Judgments
5. Master Abuser
6. Modern Man
7. Tides of the Mourning
Burdo – Vocals, guitar
Gale – Guitar
Allo – Drums
Andrea – Bass
Momo – Synth
Record Label: Aural Music


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Edited 26 March 2023

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