Artist: Science of Sleep
Chances are, you got in a car today—and if you didn’t get in a car, I’m betting you probably got in some kind of locomotive. I’m willing to extend my bet so far as to say a combustion engine powered that very same vehicle you rode in. If you’re unsure as to what a combustion engine is, it supplies an enormous amount of energy using a relatively little amount of ignitable fuel by sparking it inside a high-pressure chamber—like an engine. This is where it gets important: this high-energy reaction releases byproducts that must, in turn, be ejected from the reaction chamber: this product is exhaust. The latest album by German deathcore act Science of Sleep, Exhaust is very much true to its namesake. It is an asphyxiatingly dense and mercilessly product of an explosively high-energy reaction which uses technically marvelous riffing and superior songwriting to shake the listener to their core.
Boom. With a concussive, explosive beginning, Exhaust jumps at the listener with a relentless series of lacerating, skin-slicing riffs and pounding, lightning-fast drums. Exhaust’s self titled track kicks off the album and shows the listener what Science of Sleep are truly made of: anger, speed and violence. Tracks like “Exhaust” and the following song “7-30-7” showcase the guitars dueling with one another atop a battleground paved by steamrolling, crushing drums and writhing, devastating bass. The onslaught continues when the guitars transition from riff-heavy shredding to sludgy, demoralizing breakdowns at the drop of a harmonic or high-pitched squeal. Even while the crunch of the guitar tone matches the crunch of the listener’s bones, and the rumbling, rollicking bass runs back and forth over the listener like a dump truck, technicality reigns as king. Even when the stuttering, start-and-stop breakdowns devolve into quagmires of heaviness akin to wading through aural concrete, the dynamically written song structure pervades, as even the band’s most simple sections are complex by any other standard.
It isn’t just the sudden impact of Science of Sleep’s eight-cylinder engine of an album that strikes the listener: it’s the aftereffect. The thick, lachrymating smog for which Exhaust is so named comes, in part, from the band’s proclivity to create immersive, comprehensive atmosphere. The album’s first single and supremely aggressive track, “Oppressor” shows this, making use of a combination of unstoppably fast drumming which seems to almost tangentially drop into down-tempo beatdown which will surely turn the listener head-over-heels. The breath-taking experience that is “Oppressor” is amplified at the appearance of Martyr Defiled’s frontman, who brings an additional, thrashy element to the track that is already a technically unstoppable juggernaut. While this extra touch adds a brilliant bonus to the album, the simple truth is that each song on Exhaust conjures up a dense, suffocating atmosphere which creeps into the listeners lungs, diffuses into their bloodstream and breaks into their brain.
Once Exhaust works its way into the listener’s mind, there is no dislodging it. The grooves–like the ones found on “Parasite” and “Dogma” are almost as unstoppable as the breakdowns that they flow into. The vocals are bipolar and almost schizophrenic, assaulting the listener with punishing growls and sinister, bone-cracking screams. All the while, the drums and bass hammer the elements firmly into place. The percussion is incessant—always hammering at the listener with blast beats and break-neck fills, alongside splashy cymbals and booming, pounding kick drum. All of these elements coalesce into thick, infectious smog which is so grimy, raw and intense that the listener simply cannot wait to breathe it in and become infected with its glory. Together, Science of Sleep have made a completely exhaustive record which is nothing short of proof positive that they are masters of the technical deathcore genre.
Pulverizing, intense, destructive and suffocating are all valid descriptions of Science of Sleep’s debut full length, Exhaust. However, the album is also comprehensive, technical, stunning and marvelous—it is an all-encompassing display of technically-infused, thrash-laden deathcore mastery which will serve as an archetype for the band’s peers for years to come.
For Fans Of: Martyr Defiled, Molotov Solution, Fit For An Autopsy, I Declare War
By: Connor Welsh