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Void of Sleep - "Tales Between Reality and Madness" (CD)

Void of Sleep - "Tales Between Reality and Madness" CD cover image

"Tales Between Reality and Madness" track listing:

1. Blood On My Hands (5:25)
2. Wisdom of Doom (7:07)
3. The Great Escape of the Giant Stone Man (6:44)
4. Lost in the Void (8:31)
5. Ghost of Me (6:20)
6. Mirror Soul Sickness (5:52)
7. Sons of Nothing (5:36)

Reviewed by on January 5, 2013

"If you dig stoner, hard rock, or sludge, and need a new band to check out, Void of Sleep is an excellent way to kick off your musical journey in the new year."

2013 is looking to be another eclectic year for metal, and the recent Aural Music signees in Void of Sleep are kicking off the January release rush with an unexpected hit. Ignoring all the standard tropes of extreme music, “Tales Between Reality and Madness” works a broad range of sounds to appeal to a wider audience, while still scratching the metal itch.

There’s no question about it; Void of Sleep is a metal band, but there’s a huge amount of rock and stoner influences to be found throughout the entire release. Opening tracks “Blood on My Hands” and “Wisdom of Doom” start off with some of the heaviest material, keeping the guitars loud, distorted, and at the forefront of the music. The yelling-based vocals are halfway to clean singing and offer a great counterbalance to all the standard growling and screaming, which are completely absent on the album. For another twist, some minor psychedelic aspects suffuse a few of the tracks as well, giving off a bit of a prog feel. The overall package offers a strong showing for fans of Tool or other hard rock-focused bands.

On the downside, the sound quality could use a nudge upward, as the vocals and guitar tones are a bit faded and frequently overly distorted. It seems a distinct possibility that Void of Sleep might have been going for the fuzzy atmosphere on purpose, but a cleaner sound would offer a better listening experience and give more punch to the vocals. The bass in the first few tracks also becomes a constant buzz in the far background, although many of the later songs focus in strongly on the bass and bring the rhythm to a front and center position.

While the formula probably won’t work for all metal fans who typically stick just to the death and black varieties, “Tales Between Reality and Madness” is an underground gem worth discovering for most music lovers. If you dig stoner, hard rock, or sludge, and need a new band to check out, Void of Sleep is an excellent way to kick off your musical journey in the new year.

Highs: The mix of rock, metal, sludge, and psychedelic brings to mind Tool.

Lows: The production could definitely be crisper.

Bottom line: This impressive underground act melds hard rock and a stoner sound with enough metal to keep fans of the extreme side interested.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)