ALBUM REVIEW: Sleep In Light – Hundred Year Old Man

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HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN’s second album is a deeply emotional release for both fans and the band themselves; following the untimely passing of much-beloved founding guitarist Owen Pegg, the band decided the best way to honour his legacy was to continue on playing and creating. Turning tragedy into a celebration of a man who by all accounts was truly remarkable, second album Sleep In Light takes its name from an episode of Pegg’s favourite sci-fi series Babylon 5 and, much like the best sci-fi, throws the doors wide open to all manner of ideas and scapes without once losing its cohesive identity. 

Where debut album Breaching showed a band with a penchant for brooding atmosphere married with intense, cathartic screams and towering riffs, Sleep In Light dials this in expertly and further expands their sonic pastures – and runtime. Make no mistake, if you baulk at albums with longer runtimes then Sleep In Light’s 80 minutes will challenge you, but delving in is richly rewarded with some of the finest post-metal the UK has ever produced. 

Opening with the sprawling A New Terror, morose ambience gives way to a churning riff and cavernous roars. So far, so post-metal, but where HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN excel is in taking those elements and imbuing them with a raw emotional heft. There’s a palpable sense of loss not just here but across the album, one that’s only exacerbated by the sadness that surrounds its creation and release. Take the title track; its slow-burn opening is morose and the layered vocals increase this sense of mournfulness. 

While there are plenty of crushing guitar parts, they’re offset by equally heavy, in feeling if not raw tonal heft, passages of ambience. These are employed to great effect through the album, giving both breathing space to process the heaviest moments as well as bringing their own emotional weight to bear. The marriage of the two is masterfully done, such as with the 16-minute monolith, I Caught A Glimpse Of Myself On Fire, where swirling synths and guitars ebb and flow between the serene ambience and heaving intensity. 

Despite the often gargantuan runtimes (the shortest song, Seldom, is the outlier at a hair under five minutes, with the norm being around nine to ten minutes), Sleep In Light never once feels drawn out. Long, certainly; but such atmospheric, emotional music has to take its time to sink its hooks in. The emotional crescendos become that much more powerful and the album itself feels like one long build to closer Livyatan, in which the turmoil and tension of the previous 67 minutes is resolved on an almost hopeful note.

Simply put, Sleep In Light is a masterstroke of emotional storytelling that melds influences from luminaries like NEUROSIS or CULT OF LUNA with their own sensibilities and lives, without ever sounding derivative or anything less than captivating and hauntingly beautiful. It’s one of the best post-metal albums to come from these shores in a very, very long time and a fitting tribute and celebration of their friend and bandmate.  

Rating: 9/10

Sleep In Light - Hundred Year Old Man

Sleep In Light is out now via self-release.

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Sleep In Light – Hundred Year Old Man appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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