With dark beauty and compelling drama oozing from every note and syllable, Produces Reason is one of those creative emprises which almost deviously seduce ears and imagination. It is a proposition stocked to the rim with rapturous melodies and harmonies but of often within a frame of predatory rhythms and voracious intensity which intimidate as they entrance. Released by Finnish metallers Sleep of Monsters, the album is gothic rock in its most accessible and fiercely inventive incitement. Already available and greedily devoured in the band’s homeland, the album recently had its worldwide release through Svart Records and it is fair to say that already passions are submitting and appetites becoming greedy for album and its creators.
To be honest it is no surprise, Produces Reason is a riveting collection of individual dark dances united in the creative theatre cast by the Helsinki band. Equally there is maybe no shock due to Sleep of Monsters being the brainchild of ex- Babylon Whores vocalist Ike Vil. Other than his startlingly distinctive tones there is no real similarity between the two bands though, the former a raw and voracious death rock confrontation and Sleep Of Monsters a blazing seduction of melodic grandeur and tenacious gothic temptation, but experience and adventure never loses its potency. Alongside Vil, the band sees the equally skilled invention of guitarists Sami Hassinen (formerly of Blake) and Uula Korhonen, bassist Mäihä, drummer Pätkä Rantala (who played on HIM’s acclaimed debut album), and Janne Immonen on keys. It is a creative powerhouse but to that there are also The Furies, a trio of vocal sirens going under the names Hanna Wendelin, Nelli Saarikoski, and Tarja Leskinen, who soar across and spice songs with a part angelic part devilish seduction. As evidenced by the Pekka Laine (LAB, 45 Degree Woman) produced album, it is a combination blurring lines between the darkest romances and the brightest emotional consumptions in enthralling songs which have little problem igniting the imagination.
Produces Reason begins with the brief ethereal harmonic lure of Holy Holy Holy, thirty five seconds where The Furies seduce ears and thoughts into the arms of the album and the following Nihil Nihil Nihil. A mesmeric guitar sculpted melody opens up the song before the bulging sinews of rhythms and imposing riffs join its coaxing. As ears swiftly come to realise, every moment is just that in a passage of a song, a breath in a continual evolution which here sees a mellow yet fiery stroll with infectious arms surrounding the impressing tones of Vil. At its darkest twists and especially the chorus, Sisters Of Mercy come to mind and in its most charming mellower moments the song is simply fresh and spicy ingenuity. With pungent beats and the haunting harmonies of the ladies as potent as the fiery guitar endeavour and lead vocals, the track is an immense start to the release swiftly matched by Abomination Street.
The third track is another unafraid to show its sinews but also explores a flavoursome eighties synth pop adventure, keys and vocals combining at numerous points to brings thoughts of Blancmange to mind. The accompanying press release describes the album as bulging with “radio-friendly” songs and as much as that term annoys, it is easy to see where they are coming from with this and its predecessor alone. Every moment is an anthemic and ridiculously catchy proposal yet not to the detriment of venomous shadows, dark places and thoughts explored as swiftly shown again by Murder She Wrote. There is a Victoriana air of danger and dankness to the opening bass resonance, the suggestiveness soon joined by the expressive tones and narrative of Vil within the emotional embrace of darkly dramatic keys. As the song expands and grows so does the tension and sinister theatre of the track, as well as noir lit adventure in the imagination. It is a glorious proposal, guitars adding mesmeric flames whilst vocals croon with depth and elegance.
The tense atmosphere of Christsonday comes next, its classic metal colouring a rich flame within the gothic breath of the song. Again, and it is fair to say it pleasingly toys with most songs, there is an eighties tinge to essences within the imposing and descriptive ambience of the track. It provides a canvas for thoughts to colour and an aural painting for ears to immerse in, before making way for the sweltering heat of Our Savage God. Striding resourcefully within a sultry climate with contagious enterprise, the track is irresistibly sensational. Think Chris Isaak and Helldorado meets Pete Wylie and equipped with one of the most ridiculously catchy and inescapable choruses possible, the track puts its head above the rest of the peaks filling the album.
Horses Of The Sun grips body and mind next, its opening tribal coaxing as shamanic as it is satanic, The Furies’ enticing aligned to an intimidating rhythmic baiting as menacing as it is hypnotic. The song evolves from here into an intensive impassioned croon with vocals and keys a prominent seduction, the track like a merger of Walker Brothers and Poets of the Fall as it unveils another beauteous aspect to the landscape of the album.
The engrossing adventure and drama of Through A Mirror Darkly is next, the song infusing Eastern mystique in a fiery melodic flight with has a loud whisper of The Mission to it. Its triumph is followed by the fascinating melodic and vocal evocation of Cobwebs Of Your Mind, another song also recalling elements of Wayne Hussey and co. It should be stated though that for all the references offered every song emerges as something unique to Sleep of Monsters, just they come with excitingly familiar whispers.
The album closes with the magnetic smouldering of Magick Without Tears, a track which ebbs and flows like waves lapping the senses, every strong wash of sound and emotions bringing thick resonance and virulent drama. Produces Reason does have an additional bonus track not on its Finnish release, the song being I Am The Night Color Me Black which continues keeping the appetite contented though it has yet to convince as successfully as the other songs on the album.
Babylon Whores was an underrated and for many an undiscovered confrontation but it is hard to imagine Sleep Of Monsters slipping under the broadest radar, especially after releasing easily one of the year’s best debuts in the transfixing shape of Produces Reason.
Produces Reason is available now via Svart Records @ http://svartrecords.com/shoppe/home/2735-sleep-of-monsters-produces-reason-cd.html
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