Review Summary: We have been able to identify, the particle seen in the image below.
It seems like an age since BATS’ debut album ‘Red in Tooth & Claw’ lodged itself in the ears of many unsuspecting humans, permeated their brains and tickled their sonic fancies. At least that’s probably how the band themselves would put it. Comprising of five molecularly inspired science and natural selection enthusiasts, BATS successfully combine an array of genres like few others. Their debut saw long, progressive instrumental moments interspersed with hardcore influences, as well as dual guitar riffs that frequently ranged from post-punk to math rock. The highlight, however, were the vocals and lyrics of frontman Rupert Morris. Post Hardcore outbursts were married with moments of restraint and even whispers, whilst topics ranged from scientific experimentation and human dating (Gamma Ray Burst), to pleas for dinosaur intervention (The Cruel Sea).
BATS have made minor yet efficacious changes to their already solid formula; changes that propel ‘The Sleep of Reason’ from its predecessor’s peer to its superior. Bouncy, buoyant riffs have been superseded by dense, almost impenetrable cacophonies of noise that so accurately depict and relate to the topics that Morris enthrals us with. Physics has assured us that when the universe dies, it won’t go quietly. The unrelenting assault that is ‘Heat Death’ reflects this perfectly, with harsh vocals and chugging riffs colliding in all the fiery rage of an exploding red giant, sonically detailing the end of the universe. This congruency between lyrics and melody isn’t just restricted to aggression however, with ‘Luminiferous Aether’ a fine example. A high pitched, almost ambient riff blends well with inquisitive lyrics, to effectively capture the mystery around a formerly unknown entity and how it travels: light.
The long, sprawling instrumental moments that dominated ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’ are maintained on ‘The Sleep of Reason’. Be it in the form of an extended intro ‘The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters’ & ‘Thomas Midgley Jr’ or peppered throughout; ‘Luminiferous Aether’, they augment all that follows or all that preceded it. An immediately noticeable change however is the more restrained delivery of frontman Rupert Morris. Rather than drive the songs forward as was commonplace on their debut, Morris implements his vocals more meticulously, allowing the rest of the band to provide the energy and aggression in the verses, only exploding into life at the chorus’ arrival; with few exceptions permitting. Rather than limiting either party however, it results in a more cohesive feel that affords the band more freedom to showcase their talents more regularly.
When the sophomore status quo pertains so intimately to disappointment, BATS measured and precise approach to the creation of their second full length is as admirable as it is impressive, and enjoyable.