Drenched in a lethal sentiment of hopeless gloom and despair, the new full-length from five-headed doom machine Sleepbringer lets loose eight thunder-hoofed hymns of imminent destruction. Where fellow Indianapolis doom brigades The Gates of Slumber and Apostle of Solitude tend to conjure a vibe rooted in more traditional doom aesthetic with a metallic coating (at least where the vocal approach is concerned), Sleepbringer paints a somewhat different picture with their sound. At just over an hour long, Compendium is the newest addition to the arsenal that Sleepbringer (hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana) has chosen to take into battle alongside fellow underground warriors such as Neurosis, Crowbar and Electric Wizard.
Doing their part in the war against the multitudes of disposable weaklings that wave a false banner of so-called metal, Sleepbringer have delivered their own brand of hauntingly beautiful devastation with Compendium. The record takes the listener on a down-tuned, raw-throated journey into their own tortured abyss. Hoarse, growling vocals weave the tale with raw, agonized emotion and a no-bullshit sense of power that leave the listener with no choice but to become further engulfed in a torrent of mountainous, layered riffs and tempo shifts through each song, the shortest of which clocks in at just over five minutes.
Songs like “Everything You Know is a Lie” and “Double Shot of Fuck You” are prime examples of the kind of beast Sleepbringer is. “Caravan of Martyrs” and “The Pallbearer’s Lament” have perhaps the most mellow introductions of any song found on Compendium, but any form of blues-infused calm soon returns to a storm-colored mood once again. The ten-minute instrumental closer “I Am the Way Into the City of Woe” sets a final warning of a coming demise with marching percussion and ghostly guitars that lead the listener further down the bleak road Sleepbringer introduced them to, and paints a desolate picture of a final, eerie destination.
The songs found within Sleepbringer’s Compendium offers a somewhat mutated approach to the doom genre in the way of a gravel-throated vocal delivery that is close in proximity to that of the above-mentioned Neurosis, while still maintaining a sort of updated, and maybe even experimental, take on doom and even a few glimpses of an influence of the more psychedelic of Black Sabbath’s work (ala “Planet Caravan”). Contrary to what the song title suggests, this reviewer knows at least one thing is true…and that’s simply that Sleepbringer’s Compendium is a solidly-constructed slab of furious doom muscle that is not to be taken lightly and demands your attention!