! = recommended
* = all-ages
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Dark Signals by Sleepy Eyes of Death is fantastic. We all know, or should, that Sleepy Eyes put on extremely visual live shows. I was surprised to find their new EP equally visual, but in a completely different way. The same songs that dance through strobe lights and fog when performed live evoke thunderclouds and deep forests shot through with blinding shards of sunlight on Dark Signals - to me, anyway.
I’m rarely wowed enough by every track to pick up an entire album. I knew Dark Signals would be the exception it is and I can’t name a weak track among its six. The brilliance of “Crushed By Stars” and “Final Heart Beats Black” with its haunting vocals and drums that seem to stall time make them my favorites, but every track holds wonderful conflict and beautifully contained chaos.
“Shattered Limbs” takes me back to 80s arcades where I played too much Tempest – its pulse driving in a way that probably would have raised my score if I could have listened to it then. “Pierce The Air” builds, adding layers of robotic synth that Cassidy Gonzales’ guitar humanizes and warms. “Metastatic” begins and ends crashing, with Tron-like vocals leading into utterly satisfying drums. “Pulse From Breath” is a bright gallop through the aforementioned deep forests and trails off into thoughtful silence.
Sleepy Eyes of Death create such unique music that if Dark Signals disappointed I couldn’t simply shrug, toss it aside and choose from several others by bands who sound enough like them to satisfy in the same way. Sleepy Eyes needed to do it right and they did, with a beautiful recording engineered by Matt Bayles (Minus the Bear, Mastodon, Isis) and SEoD member Keith Negley that showcases the efforts of each musician while blending their sound seamlessly. I highly recommend Dark Signals.