Come Sleep

The Burden Of Ballast

Written by: PP on 18/12/2007 03:32:22

When almost every song on a record surpasses the six minute mark and there are nine of them in total, you know as a reviewer that you're in for an extensive listening session if you are to survive the impending writing task. A record like "The Burden Of Ballast", the debut by Sweden's Come Sleep, isn't something you can just throw on the background and listen to a few times. Nope. It's something that requires your undivided attention over several consecutive weeks, where you'll listen closely to every detail that the monster has to offer. That's precisely what I have been doing for the past one, maybe one and a half months, focusing on exactly what it is that Come Sleep wanted to tell me with this record, and how on earth I would be able to put it in words.

If my only task was to describe how they sound like, my best bet would be to call them a halfway point between sludge metal giants Mastodon and Denmark's finest progressive rock act Boil; combining the droning riffs and singing of the prior to the hypnotic riffing and the all-is-perfected vibe of the latter. Throw in a bit of Tool influence in terms of the bleak atmosphere and you're about there, more or less at least. But that's just the easy way out this review, and I'll have to follow that by somehow giving an objective judgment on whether I reckon these songs are good or not.

And trust me, that's the hard part. Every ounce of my body really wants to give this album a perfect 10 out of 10 score for attempting to breach through the laughable genre definitions us reviewers often like to slap on albums. And for a moment, listening to the enormous buildup of "Be The End" and vocalist Misha's raw but superb crooning in it, a large part of me is almost ready to slap on that rating straight away. Hell, even after listening to "To Unveil The Sky", a song which makes many Mastodon songs pale in comparison to its drone-sludg-progressive perfection, I'm still holding that opinion. In fact, much of the first half of the album has that impact of me: the riffs, the progressions, the buildups in epic proportions, the croons.. almost everything in it is a demonstration that this band really knows what the hell they are doing.

However, I don't think I need to point out that only half an album of greatness justifies a reward that high. But as hard as I tried to really like the second half of the album as much, there just weren't enough songs like "Be The End" there to keep me from returning to square one of the album. There's the occasional stab for greatness, like the oscillating guitar effect on "To This Day, Not A Sound", which puts my hopes back up again. But then, in an effort to bolster their artistic creativity, the band has included a track like "His Beast Is Done", which first wastes about one minute on an introduction that isn't really that necessary, and then progresses forward far too slowly; the first really solid riff is over three minutes into the song!

But in all honesty, the flaws are on the lesser side of this album, and the majority of it hints that by this time next year, Come Sleep should have garnered enough support to have captured a significant foothold in the progressive rock scene. That they come from Sweden, which already hails impressive internationally acclaimed progressive acts such as Opeth and Pain Of Salvation should be helpful in getting people interested, and that's the band's biggest problem for now. The music is there: it's solid, monumental, and at times unbelievably great. So lets hope enough people who read this review will check them out.


Download: Be The End, Unveil The Sky, For Sleep
For the fans of: Boil, Mastodon, Tool
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.11.2007
Version Studio

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