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Imbroglio - "Sleep Deprivation" (CD)

Imbroglio - "Sleep Deprivation" CD cover image

"Sleep Deprivation" track listing:

1. Mudhorse (5:07)
2. Mechanical Vulture (3:56)
3. Cement Shoes (2:43)
4. Dead Rain (4:50)
5. Black Sheep (4:43)
6. Cellar Door (6:06)
7. Scum On Bones (3:51)
8. December (5:31)
9. Sleep Deprivation (9:11)

Reviewed by on February 10, 2011

"'Sleep Deprivation' is the sensible antidote to a bad day at work, a way to take all the pissed-off emotions inside and let them out with the ultimate stress decompressor."

Anger is an emotion that metal has always done a fine job of emulating. Screeching guitars and daft rhythms make up the setting, while the abrasive vocals act as storytellers to the underbelly of humanity. On their off-kilter sophomore record, “Sleep Deprivation,” Imbroglio goes on a rage-spewing rampage that matches to what Gaza and The_Network have done on recent albums. The band injects a degree of melody into the bile and muck crafted by an environment where feedback is the life blood. It helps to keep “Sleep Deprivation” from completely disengaging the listener into a landscape of pointless noise.

Imbroglio jumps in and out of hardcore, grind, and sludge at a frantic pace. There is no point in even trying to hold the band down to a single genre. “Cement Shoes” and “Scum On Bones” are fueled by buzzing riffs and uncontrolled beats. These shorter numbers work on a primal level, their main concern waking the dark hate out of its slumber. Aggressive and direct, these two tracks symbolize Imbroglio’s style in simple terms. The rest of the album aims a little higher, trying to keep the unhinged momentum of these two tracks over lengths that go into progressive territory.

The problem with this strategy isn’t maintaining the suffocating onslaught, but keeping it interesting enough to warrant the time spent. The title track takes over nine minutes, but is padded with an unnecessary melodic interlude and a repetitive ending. The instrumental “Cellar Door” tries its hand at a stark atmospheric with clean guitar tones and a low-key approach. It’s a worthy venture that goes on for about two minutes too long, becoming more boring than effective. The muddy production sets the appropriate mood, but does a number on stifling the drums.

The pairing of “Dead Rain” and “Black Sheep” is the sharpest on the album. The former’s bass-led groove meshes well with the latter’s bitter force. The songs don’t go on any longer than needed and the band is on point with their brutality. “December” is a late highlight, starting out pleasant enough before slipping into a familiar explosive build-up. The lead guitar section halfway through is a lesson in instrument chaos, a sonic Holocaust on the ears. In an album where dissonance is the norm, that’s saying a lot.

An album like “Sleep Deprivation” is meant to be uncomfortable. There will be those that get pleasure out of 45 minutes spent in a noisy backdrop, while others will want structure and balance. Imbroglio’s music seems destined to divide people, a situation that can’t be controlled. “Sleep Deprivation” is the sensible antidote to a bad day at work, a way to take all the pissed-off emotions inside and let them out with the ultimate stress decompressor.

Highs: Brutal as hell, a multitude of styles used, dissonance with a hint of melody

Lows: A few lengthy songs that can't justify the time they take up, instrumental "Cellar Door" goes nowhere

Bottom line: Angry music for those that believe Gaza and Today Is The Day are effective stress relievers.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)