Monday, 2 December 2019

SLEEPSCULPTOR

Genres: Mathcore / Chaotic Hardcore / Metallic Hardcore / Experimental / Hardcore / Metalcore / Deathcore
Related artistsToothless and USVSW.
Country: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
Years Active2018-present
For fans ofThe Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Coarse, Ion Dissonance, Arsonists Get All The Girls, iwrestledabearonce, Barrier, Reflections, The Chariot, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, War From A Harlots Mouth, Loathe, Code Orange, Emmure, Frontierer and Vein.
Label(s): Self Released / Pattern Recognition Records
You can download: the November 2019 Mix#11 right here or get the new December 2019 Mix#12 here

Review by: TARQUIN JONES

SLEEPSCULPTOR is a heavy-hitting metallic hardcore band from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania in the United States. Musically the band has a strong focus on experimental and progressive leanings. The band also infuses a healthy dose of calculated chaos into the mix. This helps to further diversify their overall sound and create an added jarring dynamic. The band draws from their collective roots and molds some of the traditional staples of the metalcore genre. This includes heavy down-tuned guitars, stabbing dissonant chords, pummeling breakdowns and hard-hitting blast beats. The band then offsets these elements further with the usage of sonic bursts of guitar tapping, sliding guitar scales and a savage dual vocal attack. This melting pot of influences and ideas makes for a highly refreshing and engaging listen.

The motivation for creating SLEEPSCULPTOR was initially conceived by vocalist Hunter Derr. Hunter by trade operates as a graphic designer under the name 'Ritual Season Media'. Hunter decided that he would like to integrate both his artistic and vocal talents within a new musical endeavor. The concept of this new band would be that the visual aesthetics surrounding the project would be just as important as it's musical offerings. This would then create a seamless partnership between these two elements and aid with translating the band's conceptual ideas further for the listener.

Hunter would eventually team up with his good friend Ben Pypiak and start to lay the groundwork for what was to come. Ben would serve as the band's second vocalist and compliment Hunter's vocals with more of an unhinged and volatile approach. Together they shared a mutual vision for this new project's overall outline and the creative direction it would implement moving forwards. Ben and Hunter also wanted to set their new band apart from their peers within the local scene. Instead of following the traditional or formulaic conventions used by most bands, they would create more of an immersive quality towards their craft. The members would have a direct and hands-on approach to the majority of facets regarding the band. This would give the members complete autonomy to see their vision for the band come to life and personalize any offering the band produced.
Ben and Hunter would actualize these ideas and form SLEEPSCULPTOR in April 2018. The band would implement a few fill-ins on bass and guitar, before securing a stable line up of four members. This line up would feature Hunter and Ben on vocals, Jake Moyer on guitar and James Slattery on drums.

After a few months of hard work and crafting material, the band emerged in July with a killer single and accompanying visualizer to help build some hype for the upcoming EP. This track is called "Failsafe" and featured Cody Canning of Depreciator on guest vocals. The visualizer was premiered via BeheadingTheTraitor on Youtube and garnered a lot of attention. Being a newcomer to the band at the time and after hearing this track, I was immediately sold on their music. "Failsafe" is an absolute belter and ticked all the boxes for my personal noise and metallic hardcore related tastes. The vocals in the track being a heavy standout for me. I couldn't wait to hear more from them.

On August 22nd the band premiered another track via BeheadingTheTraitor. This time it was a rad performance music video for the track "Ganoderma" and showcases the band's initial four-piece lineup. The video sees the band members jamming in an abandoned building with disrupting and dizzying visuals overlayed. This creates a jarring juxtaposition of performance intensity and media bombardment. It's almost like some kind of fever dream or psychotic hallucination. I remember being very impressed with a young band coming out the gates with such professionalism and a strong creative direction. The music video perfectly set the tone for what SLEEPSCULPTOR was about to deliver with the EP and highlighted the band's unique blend of vocals once more.

The band finally self-released their debut offering 'Untimening' on the 24th of August 2018. This release features 5 destructive slabs of no holds barred chaotic metalcore. The music was written by Hunter and Ben and was also co-written with the help of Logan Beaver. He would supply some further ideas for the band's material in the composition stages. Logan would also assist with the production, engineering and mixing and mastering of the EP. The vocals were tracked by Eric Chesek of Side B Studios. Overall the album's production sounds very tight for a band's debut offering. The guitars and bass are punchy, the drums have strong definition and the vocals are really pushed to the extremes by being placed front and center. The EP's bold, grungy and twisted artwork was supplied by Hunter through his design company. I think it truly captures the psychotic and manic essence of the music which follows.

In terms of the EP's material, all the tracks serve a purpose here and there is absolutely no filler material. As soon as the first track kicks off, it's just a violent ride with many twists and turns until the final track fades out. The band employs heavy chugging riffs throughout with stabbing bursts of chaos and pummeling breakdowns intermixed to mass effect. The drums are thunderous and kick the listener in the chest. The groove-laden moments are masterful and the technical elements truly highlight the band's knack for creating diverse song structures. One of the EP's main highlights is the vocal interplay between Hunter and Ben. It's an insane delivery that feels like a schizophrenic episode with voices running around in one's head. Hunter pummels the listener's brain with his devastating mids and brutally guttural lows. It sounds truly furious and reminds me of vocalists like Jake Wolf of Reflections, Kadeem France of Loathe and Jessie Freeland of The Tony Danza Extravaganza. Ben's vocal execution envokes a form of manic psychosis in my mind. His vocals are delivered in violent shrieks that pierce the listener's skull. I draw some slight comparisons to Harpoon Domino's vocals on 2 0' Clock Girlfriend's full-length album 'A Tale of Two Cities'. This constant back and forth of varied vocal exchanges are sure to make the listener's head explode. It's almost like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario. My personal standouts from the EP are the tracks "Subliminal Ritual" and "Failsafe". I feel both tracks showcase the strongest elements of SLEEPSCULPTOR's songwriting and vocal prowess and how the band can demonstrate the qualities of a psychotic breakdown in audio form. It truly gives you goosebumps. It's no wonder this release garnered the wide attention of local and international audiences.

In January 2019 Travis Antoniello joined the band on bass as a permanent member. This was then followed in March 2019 with Kuyler Massam welcomed to the fold as the band's second guitarist. This would solidify their current line up as a six-piece outfit and add a further dynamic to the band's songwriting capabilities. SLEEPSCULPTOR entered Novro Studios once more in April 2019 and captured a live session video of the band performing the 'Untimening' release in its entirety. This aimed to close the final chapter on the EP and showcase the band's new line up and the band's plans moving forward.

With the band now being fully revitalized, they hunkered down and began work on writing new material. They would enter Novro Studios in May and begin outlining the songs and tracking instruments for a new release.
Logan Beaver would again assist with some co-wiring duties and Eric Novroski tackled the engineering, mixing and mastering. The result of this recording process is the band's most cohesive and highly polished material to date. This is also the band's debut full-length release and is entitled 'Entry: Dispersal'. Every avenue of this twenty-minute chaotic animal feels fully actualized. It also sees the band encompassing all of their influences shown on the EP and cranking the dial up to 11. The overall album production is great as well. It's very slick and polished, with all of the instruments being clearly defined and again the vocals are showcased to max effect.

In terms of the album's lyric subject matter, it features a conceptual narrative with the main theme being about 'cycles'. Each song is in a specific order and it places the listener in the 'protagonist' position. This unnamed person is essentially watching themselves through swapping points of view. This person is feeling hopeless and lost and can't seem to find their sense of purpose. They join a self-help group, hopefully looking for the answers to all of their questions. Ultimately this group actually ends up being a cult who is trying to 'ascend' beyond this world. Although this concept may appear to be quite convoluted, the band opts for a concise and comprehensible approach to all of the lyrical subject matter which appears on the album. Thus the listener is able to follow along easily to the lyrics as they paint a vivid picture of the band's creative storytelling.

The album also contains bold and striking artwork produced by Hunter. Everything is highly considered from the layout of the artworks all the way to the overall colour palette used. Each track is also given its own accompanying visual. This further embellishes on the lyrical themes of the album and unifies the overall world that SLEEPSCULPTOR has tastefully created.

Focussing on the musical aspects, the album kicks off with a bang and seldom relents. It's a ferocious animal that demands the listener's full engagement from start to finish. It's visceral, manic and at times quite emotionally charged. This creates a torrent of moods as the listener is immersed within the band's monstrous soundscapes. The guitars weave seamlessly between mind-bending fretwork savagery and locked down chugging riffs. The bass is thick and beefy. It carries and punctuates the band's low end masterfully. The drum work on the album is skillfully executed and hard-hitting. The band has definitely honed their sound and developed the ability to craft song structures that transition with seamless fluidity. It makes for an easily digestible listen.

'Entry: Dispersal' also features two killer guest spots, both of which are personal standouts for me. "Relinquished" features Carson Pace of The Callous Daoboys and Liber Null features Sean Richmond of Arsonists Get All The Girls. Both artists feel like the perfect additions to the album and they bring their own trademark flair to their respective tracks. It's really great seeing SLEEPSCULPTOR utilise a fellow up and comer on the album, as well as being able to garner a more established artist as well. Hopefully, this will mean we'll see some more collaborations from both in the near future.

SLEEPSCULPTOR has crafted an album here that is sure to appeal to an array of music enthusiasts. The combination of the metallic ferocity, the emotional angst present within the vocals and the spastic walls of chaos are sure to appeal to those new to heavier music and those familiar to these various niched genre styles.

SLEEPSCULPTOR is definitely a band on an upward trajectory and showing great promise for the future. As a young band, they are also setting an example of how to promote a band, create new merchandise designs and establish wider audiences in this modern 'social media platform' led era. This hardworking ethic is definitely showing it's worth with the band landing larger shows and creating quite a buzz in the underground music community.

To cap things off, Hunter has mentioned to me that the band is keeping busy and is hard at work on some new material. This should see a release in the very near future. I'm really excited to see what they are cooking up and how they'll expand on the material from 'Entry: Dispersal'. So go on and give the band a follow and don't sleep on them. SLEEPSCULPTOR is gearing up to takeover.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2018 - Untimening cdEP (stream/buy here)

2019 - Entry: Dispersal cdLP (stream/buy here)

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(2019) SLEEPSCULPTOR - "Relinquished" (from 'Entry: Dispersal') official music video

(2019) SLEEPSCULPTOR - "A Deity Conceived in a Petri Dish" (from 'Entry: Dispersal') official music video

(2019) SLEEPSCULPTOR - "Artifice" (from 'Entry: Dispersal') official music video

(2019) SLEEPSCULPTOR - full live set

(2018) SLEEPSCULPTOR - "Ganoderma" (from 'Untimening' EP) official music video

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SLEEPSCULPTOR additional links
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