Arctic Sleep - Passage Of Gaia
Self-released
Atmospheric Doom(among other genres) Metal
8 songs (55:00)
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month

Passage Of Gaia is the latest release, from Milwaukee, WI USA's Arctic Sleep. I had heard their name before, but never really had listened to them till recently. Another band which is hard to describe in a single genre of metal. The band themselves according to their website use genres such as space-rock, drone, and doom, as adjectives to describe their sound. I personally believe that all of those labels describe what I heard, in just under fifty-five solid minutes of music.

So when I entered the atmosphere that is Passage Of Gaia, the walls of guitars that make up the first track, The Staircase greeted me. With a top-notch production job(Thanks to Joel Wanasek, of JTW Music LLC) , this song really gets your attention. Nothing about the musicianship is overly complicated, but it is well played. The vocals while not varied in their range or style, are well sung and fits the atmosphere of the songs. There is also haunting yet beautiful female vocals that are heard on this song, and throughout different parts of the disc. Terra Vindicta begins where the last song ended, with layers of guitars and melodic harmonized(female and male) vocals. I really like the chorus to this song, and how the music nearly stops to let the vocals stand out. It is a great use of dynamics that fit the song perfectly. At eight minutes and forty-five seconds, Green Dragon is the second longest song on the disc. With ambient noise for the first thirty seconds or so, the song leads into a slower clean guitar and bass melody. I really enjoyed the vocals during the heavier parts, clear and majestic yet haunting all at the same time. The shorter(just over four minutes) and more straight-ahead Hyperion is a great song,and shows the band does not need to write long songs every time. Antipode features some different vocal harmonies, that really work well, that I hope they try more in the future. While not necessarily fast or heavy, this song pulls a lot of weight. A difficult song to describe, but a great song nonetheless. The nine minute plus title track brings back their wall of distorted guitars are back, with melodically sung vocals that are ethereal and powerful all at the same time. This is definitely an epic length song, but also highlights the fact that Arctic Sleep can write great music across an entire disc. The somber Solar Lament is next, a haunting acoustic song(for nearly three quarters of it, before it gets heavier). The harmonized vocals return for the last track, the seven and a half minute plus, Destry The Urn. The song changes dynamics and tempos throughout. From the acoustic guitars to the layers of guitars heard later in the song.

The music stands on its own, the lyrics themselves cover subjects such as the cosmos and space, detachment, sorrow and nature. What amazes me this band has been around awhile, and I had not heard of them. I really hope a label does pick them up, because I honestly can say they have a sound that borrows from several genres, yet no one else sounds like them. I know it is a very bold statement to make, but it is definitely the truth. There is a lot more I could say to describe the individual tracks, but this is something that needs to be listened too, and not read about. Take a chance, and discover something new, something you won't hear elsewhere, let Arctic Sleep take you to another place.
Check out their Bandcamp, Website or Facebook
For a Preview of Passage Of Gaia you can hear this on Youtube

Killing Songs :
I really enjoyed them All, liked Hyperion a lot
Joel quoted 87 / 100
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