February 17, 2020 We Sell The Dead – Black Sleep (Album Review)
A Heavy Metal project launched by In Flames Rhythm Guitarist Niclas Engelin and Drömriket Bassist Jonas Slättung, We Sell The Dead are an intriguing band carrying a concept of death and the dead as being an indispensable part of the life of the living. While that is the overall concept of We Sell The Dead, the music can be described as a unique take on Heavy Metal and elaborate storytelling with the sense of a black setting.
At their core, We Sell The Dead are rounded out by Vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, who is also the frontman for Firewind and Spiritual Beggars, Drummer Oscar Nilsson, and Keyboardist Petter Olsson. Together, We Sell The Dead will drop their second album, Black Sleep, on Friday, February 21, 2020 via earMUSIC.
Just about two years later, Black Sleep arrives following up We Sell The Dead’s debut album, Heaven Doesn’t Want You and Hell is Full, released back on February 23, 2018. Back with brand new material for fans who dug the first album, We Sell The Dead have gone into detail regarding the overall essence of Black Sleep by stating: “The term Black Sleep is, of course, a metaphor for death. ‘Eternal sleep’ is a somewhat more frequently used one, but we wanted an expression that sounded sinister and soft, both at the same time. Because it is a quite beautiful thing, this short life of ours. Blink and it’s over. And, most importantly, death is not the enemy. Indifference and life without meaning is. We are all going to die, eventually, all of us, sometime sooner or later. Life isn’t about sitting and waiting for that to happen, life is about taking what you’ve got and squeezing the most out of it.”
Without even hearing any music one can tell this is a band driven to take on the world with their dark and telling message. That in mind, we fall into the Black Sleep via opening number “Caravan.” This track begins with a hushed aura of acoustic guitar that moves into a primal, heavy ballad-like performance. Super deep Heavy Metal lovers will even notice touches of “Stargazer” by Rainbow along with straight up classic Metal soloing. Next up, “Across The Water” starts with touches of Electronica but overall carries a full Power Metal feel as the ominous title track “Black Sleep” follows. Keeping your ears interested, “Carved In Stone” has another catchy melody that heads can move to and to which emotions will be attached.
Subtle and warm, “The Light” is a compelling ballad of the onset of darkness, while “Howl Of The Wolf” bestows a creeping melody and some fun effects. Drowning, “River In Your Blood” boasts a power heavy opening melody, “Nightmare And Dream” is musically mystical and fable-oriented, and “Scars In My Heart” has the album’s uttermost Power Metal feel to it. Lastly, the mournful caress of “Shallow Grave” gives Black Sleep an ideal ending.
A tasty new treat, We Sell The Dead have found their niche and Black Sleep proves this is a band who could be something to be reckoned with if they play their cards right, as this album embodies thought-provoking stories told in grandiose texture and arrangement. For any Heavy Metal fan looking for something a little bit different, We Sell The Dead’s Black Sleep may be the breathe of fresh air you need. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock awards Black Sleep 4 out of 5 stars.