Picking yourself up and reinventing yourself is a difficult task, just ask Jonny Craig. But it can be done, as Sonny Moore’s reincarnation of Skrillex proved. It’s no easy feat and one that former Underoath frontman, Spencer Chamberlain faces after his former band called it quits.
Tag-teaming with pal Stephen Bowman to form Sleepwave, Chamberlain, has ditched the metalcore he thrived upon in the past and turned towards a flavour of recent times, electronics, using it as a staple for their debut album, ‘Broken Compass.’
A simple piano opens ‘Paper Planes’, leading to fuzzed out guitars and drums that strike like hail stones; it’s nothing groundbreaking but catchy all the same. It’s immediately apparent that this new project is worlds apart from Underoath. For one Chamberlain ditches the screams in order to gruffly sing through the majority of ‘Broken Compass.’ It’s a tactic that’s well suited to the industrial pomp that oozes out of ‘Rock And Roll Is Dead And So Am I’. With guitars cutting through like a buzz saw and a hook that feels like a sledgehammer blow, it’s so far so good for duo.
As dangerous and ferocious as the viscous mammal, ‘The Wolf’, bares its teeth and attacks with an onslaught of heavy riffs and it’s not just physical pain you will endure, with words, “the last breath you take, I hope you’re suffering, you’ll never say my name,” that bite, penetrating deep into the heart.
From here on in, ‘Broken Compass,’ gets a little dreary whether it’s through the shackled efforts of a Deftones esque ambience on ‘Hold Up My Head’ or the murky ‘Disgusted : Disguised’. It’s almost as if they’ve taken track ‘Repeat Routine’ literally, with a large portion of songs sounding like an identikit of each other.
Lead single, ‘Through The Looking Glass’, is the shot of caffeine to the eyeball needed for the record to perk up, a powerhouse of a track that leans towards rock ‘n’ roll, warranting the radio play it’s gained.
‘Broken Compass’ is not as sonically explosive and off the hinges as Bring Me The Horizon, nor as dark and digitally enhanced as Nine Inch Nails, but there are glimpses that suggest that Sleepwave, if not reinventing the wheel, can add something to it.