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October 2021
Album review

Sleep Waker - Alias

The record is an incisive, raging indictment on modern life.
Label: UNFD
Released: 23rd July 2021
Rating: ★★★★
Sleep Waker - Alias
Published: 11:17 am, August 19, 2021Words: Edie McQueen.

Sleep Waker’s blistering new album, ‘Alias’, is here to fuel your existential crisis. Colliding screaming angst with stadium-sized instrumentals, it questions integrity and reality with surgical precision, like scalpels peeling back skin. And what it finds underneath our shiny modern masks is real and frightened and frightening. 

From the razor-sharp emotional intensity of the title-track to the relentless sadomasochistic nature of ‘Skin’, the album berates the listener, forcing us to confront strange and brutal truths. Not dissimilar to the way in which Greek heroes find punishments in getting their livers pecked at every day by eagles, 'Alias' finds retribution in uncanny and vicious ways. It burns with a fighting refusal to conform to society, instead pulling apart the seams of modern life. 

Standout track ‘Synthetic Veins’ explores the ubiquity of simulation and artifice in the 21st century, technologically-plagued world, something that bleeds even into something as foundational as human flesh. ‘Serene’ jettisons any indicated tranquillity, ‘Insomniac’ won’t help someone suffering from the condition; these songs are intended to disturb and ignite, sweating and monstrous. The vocals of ‘Cold Moon’ appear to us as if from underwater, like vocalist Hunter Courtright is being drowned as he screams his demonic sermons. Even from this uncomfortable, subaquatic abyss we are presented with, his venomous tirade still sparks forth. 

The record is an incisive, raging indictment on modern life. As we walk around, glued to our phones, becoming the robots we build to take over from us, we miss the skin-on-skin ferocity of a thrashing metalcore moshpit. Sleep Waker are here to jolt us out of our complacency.

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