The Friday before the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento I received an email about a new band called SLEEPKILLERS. I was asked if I wanted to speak with them in the Media Tent and upon learning who the members were (see below) I had to move quick to secure a spot.
SAM RIVERS – Bass, LIMP BIZKIT
DAMIEN STARKEY – Vocals, ex-PUDDLE OF MUDD, BURN SEASON
ADAM LATIFF – Guitar, ex-PUDDLE OF MUDD
BOBBY AMARU – Drums, SALIVA, BURN SEASON
What was interesting is that the band wasn't even playing at the Festival but just on hand as an opportunity to conduct press and spread the word. During the course of the interview (see video here), we spoke about the first single (Dirty Foot) releasing today, November 2 but it was after the interview and conversation over that afternoon and the following day with Sam (and publicist Michaela) that blessed me with being able to hear 4 of the songs from their debut album.
And as Sam told me during the interview, you’re going to hear some, “dark, heavy, but beautiful music!”
Dirty Foot is reminiscent of mid-90’s Alt-Rock in the vein of FILTER without the electronic sounds and the center break has an almost HELMET like riff but what sets this song apart is the bass lines from Sam in the 2nd verse that are melodic and deviate from a simple bass following the guitar type structure but also the unique song structure that keeps the listener engaged. Track 2, Leftovers, is a dirty, sludge type number which sits somewhere around a modern ALICE IN CHAINS number but a more bouncy groove to the verses yet the chorus has some offbeat drumming from Bobby which keeps the song from becoming boring. Drown is the most rocking of the 3 songs and settles into a familiar verse a la Leftovers but drops low before crushing into a soaring chorus that screams ‘radio here we come,’ and then we turn melancholy with a vocal and piano outro. The acoustics of Left For Dead will have you ‘set fire to every memory’ but this track could be a sleeper hit for a new generation as its artful production and vocal effects will leave a haunting impression upon your soul.
Overall there is a strong discipline to keep the songs simple and while that might sound like a detraction, it’s actually what is working the most for the band as the focus becomes on the groove, the hook, and is friendly enough for radio yet also adventurous with the structures and dynamics to keep the non-average reach open to their art. I look forward to hearing the remainder of the album as this was refreshing and I am honored to be trusted with the music (no, don’t ask me for it as I won’t give it to anyone)!
Mark - HardRockCore
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