Review Summary: Ex-Underoath front man returns with a blast of an album written honesty all over it
I have been familiar with spencer chamberlain’s work since 2008.Underoath’s define the great line was the first post-hardcore album I have ever heard. Back at that time the album came to me as a real surprise. I was literally blown away. That opening riff from “In regards to myself” just slays. I used to listen metalcore bands like All that Remains, Bullet for my valentine, Killswitch engage, Shadows fall back then.They were becoming so stale& stagnant at that moment to me. Underoath was a change that I needed. While listening to Underoath albums like define the great line, Lost in the sound of separation I was obsessed with screams performed by spencer. Dark, guttural and vicious are the words I have to use to describe his voice and those cleans were filled with so much despair like he is singing from a dark pit all alone. Then disambiguation got released in 2010. Once again Underoath and Spencer impresses me with extraordinary and solid music.
As far as my life goes, nothing good lasts forever for me. Underoath broke up in 2013 leaving just 2 excellent new songs behind. It would have been so great if they left a whole new album behind like Anberlin. Well,God at last looked down to me and sends back spencer chamberlain with new music and this time he is back in the much ventured Modern Hard rock scene. This scene is the most polluted and commercial one out there in my opinion. There are so many bands out there corrupting the whole scene and sucking out money just like leeches for quite a long time. Spencer Chamberlain and his sleepwave is actually a glimpse of light in this stagnant scene. As all of spencer’s work this one is also very innovative, different and last but not the least very very honest. Sleepwave’s debut album broken compass maintains the balance between unnecessary cheesiness and catchy music. The dark atmosphere of the album continues from the first song to the last song. The despair in spencer’s voice adds another layer of darkness all over the music. The lyrics are another very strong side for sleepwave. Spencer has always written brutally honest lyrics and this time there is no exception.
My favorite lines from the album
“I climb your mountain to prove I'm still alive
(Still alive, still alive!)
So let’s be honest we both have blood on our hands
(On our hands, on our hands!)
You wash yours off and I wear mine like a crown
I'll never get out alive
The last breath you take
I hope you're suffering
You'll never say my name
You'll never say my name
I'll turn my back and walk away
We'll never be the same”
Each and every song in the album has a very thought out structure. The songs climax perfectly. Every single song has a perfect build up and a very catchy chorus. The songs can easily set their hooks onto you. I got to mention the song “Hold up my head” because this one has the greatest climax I have ever heard since A perfect circle’s Passive. “Hold up my head” has a great synth intro and beautiful keys all through the song. Then when the distorted guitars come in with spencer’s cleans and screams that’s where the album reaches its pinnacle. Other songs such as "Paper Planes”, “Replace Me”, “The wolf”, “Inner body revolt”, “Through the looking glass” are rock solid and catchy numbers with punk influences (The wolf). Then there are the interesting songs such as the Nu-metal, grunge and Hardcore mash up “Repeat Routine”. “Disgusted:Disguised” a very deftone-esque song with dark keys and spencer’s high pitched snarls in the choruses. “Whole again” is drenched in NIN, Filter and Marilyn Mansion influences with great verses, bridges and a great chorus. The most special song in my opinion will be “Rock & Roll is dead so am I”. First when sleepwave released this I liked it without a doubt. After listening the album version filled with great synths and new leads it blew me away. There is some NIN influences here but it is still a very unique song. Every music listener should listen to this one. The album ends with the ballad “Broken Compass”.
As I said before that the sleepwave brings something different to stagnant modern hard rock scene it’s because of the way the synths and the bass guitar is handled. This type of playing and use of the synths and the bass guitar is not common in this scene as far as I am concerned. The bass lines in “Paper planes”, “Replace Me”, synths in “Through the looking glass”, “Whole again”, “Repeat routine” are unique and classy. David Benedeth’s production work on this album was amazing. The music was actually breathing. He made listening this album a lively and awesome experience.
At last I will say the album is not a masterpiece or anything. It is a great and solid album with uniquely catchy songs. The album ends quite early. The guitar playing is not that special. Its not shining or playing great riffs or solos, it just sits there. Another thing is that the songs follow a very tight structure which was okay for me but many will find it tiresome. Still, I will recommend everyone to listen this album just because of its honest and fresh music. It also showcases Spencer’s best vocal works. Go get a copy now…You are missing out