Every so often, as a fan of underground stoner/doom/post metal/whatever, an album and a band will come along that make you sit up and mutter to yourself "Fuck me, this is something special".Today my friends, that band is Sleestak , and the album is the sublime, stunning , 'The Fall Of Altrusia', which it is my pleasure to review for you lucky, lucky people.
Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not, as far as I'm aware, previously known for it's hotbed of post-metal/prog talent ,but all that may be about to change.Essentially one song, split, Mars Volta style, into seven distinct sonic chapters, 'The Fall Of Altrusia' is one of those albums that can be described, without exaggeration, as a journey, one that traverses so many different moods and musical landscapes , but yet without compromising an iota of cohesiveness or focus, with a fantastically clear production to accentuate the song's understated power and heft.
The band's sound can best be described as a blend of doom/post metal/prog influences, but with enough subtleties to their sonic palette to set them apart from the current horde of downtuned Neurosis worshippers , and give them a sense of something truly unique, and the band incorporate a vast and diverse range of influences,everything from the cold industrial lamentations of Godflesh, to the gloom of post-punk pioneers Joy Division, and via a musical filter that seemingly incorporates everything from Isis to , dare I say it, early Pink Floyd. .Passages of spaced out , ethereal guitar and hauntingly crooned vocals give way to lead -heavy , doom riffs, and segueing back then to gorgeous post-rock lamentations, not a second feeling inessential or wasted.Granted, it may not be an easy journey to make , with sparse vocals and a required certain degree of patience, but by the time the band have ascended to the blissful, melancholy heights of the closing moments of the album , you won't care, and the feeling on completing the album , to anyone with any sense, should be a desire to take this fabulous journey once more.
Of course, 'Altrusia' isn't for everyone.There is some that may find it's cold,desolate atmosphere somewhat overbearing, it's epic instrumentation possibly too minimalist, too unforgiving.But, as a great man, once said :
This is brave, beautiful stuff, and well deserving of your hard earned cash as anything by any of heavy music's bigger names this year. A truly wonderful work of progressive metal , each new listen reveals new depths to the band's sound, and in this reviewer's humble opinion, 'The Fall Of Altrusia' may just yet be one of the best albums released this year.
For fans of : Isis, Godflesh, Pink Floyd, Baroness, Burst
Listen here: http://www.myspace.com/sleestak
Buy the album here: http://sleestakmusic.com/store.html
Stephen O ' Connor, Born Again Nihilist