While the word heavy is used to describe a host of bands, I feel that it truly is the best word to try and discuss California’s SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP. Their thunderous blend of sludgy hardcore and never-ending riffs are on full display during tracks like “Ghost Plains” and “Sunday Mass Graves.” Opium Morals is a vicious ten-track full-length, one that sees SSOS utilize a melting pot of genres all while keeping the urgent speed and ferocity that made their previous material so interesting.
aforementioned “Ghost Plains” kicks the album off right with a blood
curdling build-up and then an onslaught of brusque vocals and deafening
drums. There’s no respite for the next thirty plus minutes. The riffs
are a work of beauty that will make you just want to quite simply
thrash. Everything gels together to create this cohesive beast and
before you know it the album transitions into the second track, “Moths.”
Despite a calmer opening, there is an ominous feel that dominates the
start. You’re almost just waiting for the pace to pick up and when it
does nearly two minutes in, SSOS delivers.
wanting to completely spoil the album, “Grindstone” is an absolute
ripper of a track that harkens back to the band’s early work - a short
and crippling sludgy masterpiece - as is “Orphans.” While the style may
have evolved, SSOS still knows how to put together a good fast song.
aspect I enjoyed - aside from the constant barrage of riffs - was the
continuation of varying vocals. Back on the band’s self-titled EP
(2011), they introduced a more guttural style - a la THE ARM AND SWORD
OF A BASTARD GOD - and once again they use it to great effect on Opium
Morals. It doesn’t come off as unneeded or even out of place, but fits
the accompanying music perfectly. It’s much like with label mates ILSA
where the vocals are integral in the band’s sound (And also just one
reason why I cannot wait for that split to come out in April).
always an underlying groove (“White Braid” especially) that gives SSOS a
distinct sound, much like EYEHATEGOD. The important thing is that while
the band’s influences may be clear, the music isn’t a copy of Take As
Needed For Pain or Dopesick. As comparisons to previous releases always
happen, I would say that Opium Morals sees SSOS progress in a more
exploratory direction than the more simple bludgeoning on their first
12” (2010) or the sludgy violence that decimated listeners on the
CHILDREN OF GOD split. If you liked those releases, chances are that you
will love this record.
for a late March release, Opium Morals showcases why SEVEN SISTERS OF
SLEEP are one of the most exciting bands around.