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Sleeping Village - "Fragments" (CD/EP)

Sleeping Village - "Fragments" CD/EP cover image

"Fragments" track listing:

1. My Quality of Being (8:02)
2. Bliss (4:48)
3. Out-of-the-Way (8:46)
4. Yet Longing for More (6:30)

Reviewed by on March 5, 2010

"Emotional and redolent, 'Fragments' is an excellent early release from an excellent band."

Snagging their name from the Black Sabbath song, Sleeping Village is a two-man project from Italy that plays a very haunting brand of atmospheric black metal. “Fragments” is their second EP release, and while it does drag a bit, this one is definitely worth some attention and is hopefully a foreshadowing of great releases to come.

The EP starts out with “My Quality of Being,” a song that makes it very apparent that this album is going to be incredibly dense with atmosphere. Indeed, the majority of the music is ambient synth mixed with typical, if subdued, black metal riffing. The drums are pretty simple and add to the atmosphere appropriately, though some of the faster sections tend to sound like a drum machine. The vocals are more of another instrument in and of themselves, as they mostly consist of misanthropic wails and moans that seem to be coming in from somewhere off in the distance, clouded through a gloomy fog of despair. The song doesn’t pick up much at all, but the end section is beautiful and evocative.

The album starts to pick up with “Bliss,” which incorporates some faster riffing and drumming, though this album stays about the same pace throughout. The band has incorporated some memorable and melodic leads that really break up the atmosphere and prevent the music from becoming boring or too drawn out. The third track, “Out-of-the-Way,” is an instrumental track that is, by far, the high point of the album. Brilliantly composed and haunting enough to send shivers up one’s spine, this song is mostly ambient and even contains some ambience on the electronic side a la Daniel Menche. It’s effect is lasting on the album and I really hope to see more stuff like this from the band in the future.

Though “Fragments” may seem like nothing but distorted noise and ambience, there is a ton of melody to pick up on if the listener pays enough attention. Sleeping Village has added a whole ton of subtle details that really bring this album out in front of other atmospheric black metal acts. It doesn’t completely escape from dragging at times, but when it does, the band manages to change up the sound enough to keep the listener’s attention. Emotional and redolent, “Fragments” is an excellent early release from an excellent band.

Highs: Haunting atmosphere that is deep and beautiful.

Lows: Drags at some points.

Bottom line: The atmosphere to be found here is tremendous, and the ambience is strikingly well composed alongside the rest of the music.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)