Review: The Final Sleep, I (Self-Released, 2017)

I feel like Troy, NY's The Final Sleep had previously landed on my radar at some point in the past six months or so, but in this day and age where millions of songs are at your fingertips at any given moment, sometimes it takes an email and a few tidbits of added trivia to make you stop and pay closer attention. Such an email hit my inbox earlier this week containing three magic words: Edge of Sanity (a loose comparison), plus Withstand and Arsis (ex-members of).

Guitarist Kevin Maloney was in the mighty Withstand, while drummer Mike Van Dyne co-founded Arsis and played on—in my opinion—their finest albums. As an added bonus, Jay Van Dervoort (bass) was in Burning Human, while guitarist Mike Stack did time with Dying Breedand stints in Withstand and Burning Human, too—amongst others. Not to be left out, vocalist/guitarist (that's right, three guitars) Jeff Andrews has performed with groups such as Hush, Ironweed, and Held Under—though I must apologize for being unfamiliar with all of them.

So, yeah, you can see why their résumés caught my attention. I'm just sorry that I didn't take note sooner, 'cause it probably took less than five minutes of streaming the other night for me to order a CD!

Apparently this 30-minute, five-song EP was released a little over two years ago, but was recently remixed and remastered, and it puts forth some scorching melodic death metal of the highest order. The band compares their niche to Edge of Sanity, Opeth, and Primordial, and that's not inaccurate. You've definitely got your soaringly powerful melodies and top-shelf riffing, lush acoustic passages and gorgeously crafted solos, vocals that shift from assorted growls to rather slick singing, and an overall epic-leaning atmosphere... there's more to it, though. At times things tend toward that blackened edge of, say, Naglfar in their prime; while occasional somber textural undercurrents bring to mind the likes of October Tide. I'd stress that all of these comparisons are just reference points, though. While a number of Scandinavian influences seem central, The Final Sleep has really managed to formulate their own cohesively diverse approach to this type of sound.

I'm not gonna lie, I haven't even looked at the lyrics yet and am still digesting all of this midway through my second complete listen right now, but I was hyped enough to throw something together as soon as possible to try and spread the (belated) word. I'm kinda shocked that The Final Sleep hasn't been scooped up by a decent label yet. This shit's impressive. There's not a bad track in the bunch, but hop up top to stream "Disbelief" and skip to around 1:08, then wait for the vocals to kick in over that sick semi-arpeggiated riff about 30 seconds later. God damn... if that doesn't hook you in, get the fuck outta here!

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