REVIEW: Sleep Circadia – The Sound of Forgiveness [EP/2013]

Artist: Sleep Circadia

Album: The Sound of Forgiveness [EP]

Rating: 9.8/10



There are those who like things in life bold, blunt and straightforward. You know–that friend of yours who only wakes up with black coffee, only devours rare steak and only drinks strong drinks. After all, that old adage comes to mind–fortune favors the bold. On the other hand, there are those who act with only the utmost, punctual forethought and pre-conceived care–those who live by the saying with caring comes courage. While is isn’t always the truth, typically these two kinds of people don’t mix so well–they like different movies, play different games, and, until now, listen to different kinds of music. However, Sleep Circadia, a progressive deathcore act hailing from Syracuse, New York, bridge the gap between the two mindsets with The Sound of Forgiveness, a devastatingly heavy yet surprisingly melodic release. The Sound of Forgiveness is an EP that has punchy breakdowns for those who cherish deathcore’s penchant for the slamming, crushing beat down and hypermelodic, catchy choruses and clean vocals for those who like a break from the chaos. Most importantly, Sleep Circadia manage to utilize both of these styles perfectly without seeing overzealous or neglecting one in favor of the other.

“The Sound of Forgiveness” builds perfectly into the first real element of the band the listener will bear witness to: unending, relentless heaviness. Starting off as little more than a subtle breeze, “The Sound of Forgiveness” leads perfectly into the maelstrom that is “Set It Off,” a dynamo of a track which does just that–sets the EP off. These first three songs are a three-headed chimera that proves to the listener that Sleep Circadia are more than ready to smash heads on The Sound of Forgiveness. With grinding, gnashing grooves that drop into pulverizing breakdowns, “KND” is a stand-out highlight of the EP. Crushing, limitlessly heavy drums accompany a simply massive bass tone and one deep, subterranean guitar. While those three instruments create a tidal wave, the lead guitar chimes in with haunting, bone-chilling riffs that turn an otherwise standard-fare tsunami into a perfect storm of skin-rending, bone-breaking heaviness. While the instruments chop, churn and crush away, the vocals are always by their side, uttering a guttural, filthy, low-down growl which simply strike fear into the heart of the listener: as if the tidal wave of limitless ferocity and brutality towering over the listener wasn’t enough, the vocals drive the EP’s heaviness home.

It isn’t until “Don’t Be Afraid of Cheap Whiskey” comes around that the listener gets treated to something other than the magnificently destructive growls that accompany the crushing instrumentation. “Don’t Be Afraid of Cheap Whiskey,” shows a new and exciting side to the previously one-track-mind crush that Sleep Circadia brought to the table. Rather, the clean vocals function as a figurative namesake of The Sound of Forgiveness. When the listener is otherwise enveloped in a dark, crushing heaviness that’s as thick and black as tar, the clean vocals shine in, freeing the listener from overwhelming, near claustrophobic heaviness. When these vocals take the reigns, the instruments follow suit, engaging in hypermelodic, almost-ethereal segments of tangential beauty. That is to say, they do this until time comes to dive back into the harsh, brutalizing deathcore which had formerly enveloped the listener.

This dynamic is the one that makes Sleep Circadia such a gap-bridging band. Take myself for example–typically, I either like my deathcore heavy, or my melodic, groovy post-hardcore melodic and groovy. However, The Sound of Forgiveness demonstrates that the two can be done as a cohesive unit without compromising enjoyability or originality. Quite the contrary, actually: Never before have I heard a band combine these elements quite so comfortably or tastefully. Indeed, tracks like “Gloom” or “Deliverance” seem to indicate that Sleep Circadia are a band who were simply born to defy the common conceptions of the genre(s) in which they dwell. In short, this EP displays a band who seem to be at their best, most cohesive and crushing when they are stepping out of their comfort zone. With “Deliverance”’s quick toggle between grooves, melodic sections and technically-stunning breakdowns and “KND”’s pull-no-punches, jaw-breaking attitude, this band is not only diverse, but excellent at doing so.

“Deathcore? With clean vocals?” you might be asking yourself. Yes–it is. And yes, I was skeptical. However, it turns out that my skepticism was all for naught, as Sleep Circadia are a technically marvelous, wonderfully heavy band with the ability to be melodic and harmonize when you least expect it. The Sound of Forgiveness is just that–a soothing sound to renew the listener’s faith in the deathcore genre.


For Fans Of: Level The City, Failure in Vanity, King Conquer, Make Them Suffer

By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism