By Atanamar Sunyata
Black moods demand bleak music. There are certain albums that radiate genuine rage, that siphon off your own anger and anguish to disperse it into the ether. Some of my go-to LPs for this effect are Anodyne's Lifetime of Gray Skies and Tombs' Winter Hours. Imbroglio's latest effort rests squarely in this pantheon, churning a cathartic maelstrom of angular rhythms and pulverizing dissonant riffs. Standing at the impassable muddy crossroads of sludge, hardcore and noise, Imbroglio also infuse their music with some of the blistering blackness that makes a band like Withered so potent.
D.J. Gilber's fantastic gurgling guitar tone is a primary force in the album's ferocity. Whether wielded like a ten ton hammer or swung like a shrieking scythe, the guitars on Sleep Deprivation will take you off your feet. Devon Robillard's rumbling bass crackles with a skin crawling asperity and adds extra heft to every angle of the album's rhythmic assault. Gratifying riffs oscillate between bottomless slices of staccato sludge and higher pitched doses of diced dissonance.
Nathan Harrah's precise drumming is the heartbeat of this rabid beast, tackling a baffling array of velocities. He excels at everything from pedestrian poundings to racing rhythms that keep the blood flowing through these careening compositions. The meticulous control of flailing cadences holds Sleep Deprivation together, giving it form and strength.
The hostility embodied in Sleep Deprivation is palpable, and it can only be a product of life's intrinsic cruelty. D.J. Gilber and Devon Robillard join forces to deploy a double barreled dose of vocal vitriol. Every word is delivered with throat ripping abrasion and absolute conviction. There's no possible dissimulation as they howl “You make me wish my blood ran cold. Now my blood runs cold. You make me wish I had no pulse. Now I have no pulse.” The deft songwriting covers topics such as betrayal, loss, life's futility, and, of course, sleep deprivation. The title track aptly closes out the album with a haunting chant of “Visions haunt me. No time to sleep. I am running on death.”
Imbroglio realize that darkness loses its power without some contrasting light. Moments of ambient reflection punctuate the punishment and offer a sliver of shelter from Sleep Deprivation's rancorous storm. These clean bits of guitar (such as the instrumental “Cellar Door”) resonate with astral intonations, letting our minds float free of our bodies to look down upon the misery below. As bright as the guitars get, the rumble of Devon Robillard's overdriven bass is always lurking in the background, reminding us that we'll soon fall back to earth.
Both intricate and bluntly bludgeoning, Sleep Deprivation is colossally satisfying. The album is beautifully produced so that each dark corner of its subterranean cacophony is discernible. The only question is, what will be left of you when every ounce of fury is drained from your body?
Sleep Deprivation is out on January 18th via The Path Less Traveled Records, and is available for pre-order here.