Wow. That’s the only way to describe the debut full length from Houston’s Sleeping Ancient. Despite being forged in the sweltering Texan heat, There Is No Truth But Death blows a blisteringly cold mix of blackened post metal that sounds like it was born in the midst of the harshest Scandinavian winter.
The album starts as it means to go on, kicking in with huge rung out chords in the vein of Amenra. In fact it wouldn’t be unrealistic to say that if Amenra had written that intro themselves, they’d be pretty pleased with it. One can only imagine what it will sound like live – presumably it’ll peel your scalp back whilst bending and shifting the air all around you. From hereon in the band follow a simple but effective formula – blast beats and riffs a la black metal crossed with slower, down tempo/post metal parts intertwined with Cult of Luna-esque leads, all of which combine to create ethereal soundscapes over blackened brutality. A perfect storm, definitely one for a long drive – blizzard optional but preferred.
A true high point that really makes this album shine are the vocals. Not your typical black metal vocals, more of a shout than a scream, drenched lusciously in reverb and sitting perfectly in the mix. Indeed, if a negative aspect can be levied at the album at all it is the disappointment in finding that the second half of the album takes a more instrumental approach. Vocals are still present of course, however they do seem to very much take a back seat. And whilst these instrumental parts are well written and effecting, it’s a little disappointing because of how effective the vocals are elsewhere on the album. However, it remains that this is an incredibly impressive and powerful debut and Sleeping Ancient are certainly a band to keep an eye on.
There Is No Truth But Death is out 5th September via Viridian Flame Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Luke Davison