Ever had that moment when you thought you had come out of a dream only to find that you are not quite back in the land of the living, that you are lost somewhere in that hinterland between reality and dreamland, frozen, paralysed, unable to move even an eyelid? If you have then you will recall the utter terror and blind panic of that experience, those feelings of vulnerability and total helplessness. This state of being is sometimes referred to medically as "dream paralysis", but there is another state of dreaming that is just as terrifying, a state of dreaming that has you utterly convinced you are actually fully awake, doing everyday things like brushing your teeth and having a shower, only to discover this perceived reality is just a dream of that reality, this is called a "false awakening", which leads us nicely into the subject of this review.
"False Awakening" is the title of, Swedish sound architects, Insonika's debut album, an album that delves into those nightly horror movies we call nightmares and gives them a soundtrack befitting of their unpredictable, confusing and quite often horrific nature.
"Night Sky" opens "False Awakening" with gentle, guitar arpeggios sweeping over a backdrop of serene shimmering effects and low key bass and is followed by "The Hunt Begins" a song that, initially, continues in much the same vein as its predecessor only this time around drums make an appearance and the bass takes a more prominent role. The song builds in atmosphere by gradually swelling in volume until exploding into a slightly repetitious but wholly engrossing heavy doomic groove replete with swirling guitar solo's before just as suddenly subsiding back into serenity. "Tiamat (featuring Billy Taylor)" begins with a spoof radio phone-in beneath which a military style drum pattern is efficiently tattooed out, the drums are then joined by the guitar and bass in a thrumming slightly spacey groove over which clean, lightly phased, vocal tones tell nightmarish tales of escaping entities and mystical deities. Next up is "The Path of Men" a tune that mixes its stoner doomic properties with that of its more metallic stonerized cousin and is followed by "Who lit My Candle" a dynamic, hard rocking, almost thrash paced opus that seamlessly jumps back and forth between dynamics and time, while "Mare Poem" finds Insonika dipping their toes into sludgier, slightly more progressive waters, its vocals, though still clear and clean, taking on a grittier, growlier edge. "Hellwalker" brings the nightmarish scenarios of "False Awakening" to a conclusion with a sprawling, schizophrenic instrumental stretched out over a captivating thirteen minutes, the band sonically shifting up and down through the gears until finally closing out on a wave of fuzz drenched droning resonance, a fitting end to an album the band describe as "themed around the stuff of nightmares"
Check it out ….
© 2019 Frazer Jones