Friday 10 April 2020


"Unashamed Sabbath worship" are the words New Jersey trio Sleeping Village use to describe their particular brand of proto-doomic heavy metal and there is no getting away from the fact that the bands new release "Holy Water", much like their debut EP "Among The Gods", is heavily influenced by Black Sabbath's iconic early doomic grooves. There will of course be those tearing out their hair and creaming "please not another Black Sabbath clone" but the truth is those naysayers will be few and far between because if the truth be told most of us, young and old, just can't resist a Sabbath-esque riff, especially if it is done as well as this!

Sleeping Village may have been heavily influenced by Black Sabbath but to call them  "Sabbath clones" would be wrong, yes Rick Dal Cortivo's riffs and lead work owes a huge debt to Tony Iommi's tone and style and yes Tim Gray's bass combined with Scott Borchert's drums create a swinging rhythmic backdrop very similar to that of Geezer Butler and Bill Ward but when you start digging a little deeper you then start to notice subtle differences and soon come to realise that there is much more going on here than first meets the ear. Most obvious of those differences are Cortivo's vocals, the guitarist/vocalist eschews any attempt to replicate Ozzy Osbourne's slightly nasal Brummy tones and instead opts for a cleaner, if a little less powerful, tone, thereby giving Sleeping Village's sound a completely different dynamic to their heroes. Another major difference from other bands that tread a similar Sabbath-esque path  is that Sleeping Village are not averse to stepping out of their dark Sabbath worshipping capes and don robes of a different shade and colour. "Holy Water", "Dust Everywhere" and "The Siren's Song" all jam riff drenched Sabbath-esque grooves, with the latter having a strong "Sabotage" era feel, but then "No Turning Back" comes along and suddenly your hearing guitar solos that sound more Duane Allman than they do Tony Iommi and bass lines and percussion that could easily grace an 80's era Budgie album. This diversity continues into the albums final song "The Matter of Time" a song that blends everything that has gone before it into one big melting pot of schizophrenic, constantly shifting groove that is totally unexpected but at the same time absolutely brilliant!

Sleeping Village maybe unashamed of their Sabbath worship but they should also not be ashamed of using that worship as their jumping off point to explore new territories and new directions. "Holy Water" is a huge step forward from the bands previous EP  "Among The Gods" and one that promises much for the future.
Check it out ….

© 2020 Frazer Jones

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