After releasing three bruising EPs, Pittsburgh’s Eternal Sleep finally deliver their first full-length recording, The Emptiness Of. Much like djent and the shoegaze resurgence, chugging, breakdown-heavy metallic hardcore has become a popular trend in extreme music in recent years. But like with all music trends, they slowly die out and those left purveying those styles who refuse to stagnate and continue to push forward will be the ones who will remain relevant. With this new LP, Eternal Sleep are shaping up to be one of those said bands. Though their initial releases were fairly straightforward, The Emptiness Of shows the band pushing the limits of the modern metallic hardcore style.
Eternal Sleep‘s sound nods to old school metallic hardcore acts like Buried Alive and Turmoil, as well as the death ‘n’ roll of Entombed‘s Wolverine Blues, and the grime and grit of early grunge. The result is a groove-laden blitzkrieg of HM-2 fueled mayhem that is equally catchy and furious. The 28-minute assault begins with its title track, a short 40-second intro of grimy noise and slow-building drums. This intro bleeds directly into the chugging monstrosity that is “Last Kind Words”. Muscular guitars summon bestial, stomping grooves that collide destructively with thunderous drumming and Joseph Sanderson’s gruff, pissed-off yells. Metal elitists tend to scoff at the mere mention of breakdowns, but the breakdowns presented on this track, and this entire LP, are crucial to Eternal Sleep‘s method of sonic decimation. These Pennsylvanians do not use these sections as a crutch, unlike some similar acts. They’ve got riffs and grooves for days, the breakdowns just enhance their brutality.
Tracks like the tumultuous “Red Herring” and “Revisionist” show the band paying tribute to the progenitors of the genre, but with their own burly spin on it. These cuts churn out bouncing, angular riffs and rhythmically jarring and dissonant beatdowns that will batter listeners half to death. Songs like “Flesh/Blood” and “Parlor Tricks” are some of the more standout tunes on the record. These tracks put a real emphasis on aggressive, blood-pumping grooves that have grungy, almost hard rock-tinged undertones. Other than their infectiously catchy construction, Sanderson’s use of gruff “clean” vocals also give these tunes a unique edge. “Typical Broken Heart” also stands out from the pack with its moody, almost Neurosian crawls. Sections of haunting guitar riffs echo above pulsating bass lines and primal drum patterns, and transition into hardcore stampedes. The track cycles back and forth between these two contrasting sections before ending with a mosh-worthy breakdown of titanic proportions.
With The Emptiness Of, Eternal Sleep showcase a desire to distance themselves from the pack. A lot of the tracks sound like mini-evolutions in progress. These tunes (“Flesh/Blood” and “Typical Broken Heart” as examples) maintain the band’s chugging metallic hardcore roots while casually grasping at other styles and nuances. Even the tracks that don’t distance themselves that much from their contemporaries still feel genuine and their fury is unmatched. The Emptiness Of is this band’s first step to becoming a force to be reckoned with. It will be interesting to see what they accomplish on their next release.
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Label: Closed Casket Activities
Favorite Tracks: “Red Herring”, “Flesh/Blood”, “Parlor Tricks”, “Straw Man” and “Never Again a Harder Goodbye”
For Fans Of: Turmoil, Axis, Incited, Nails, God’s Hate and Black Breath