Sleep Of Monsters - II: Poison Garden album review

Doomy Finnish occultists return with a musical Game Of Thrones.

Sleep Of Monsters II: Poison Garden album cover

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A Finnish goth-metal supergroup featuring former members of HIM, Babylon Whores and others, Sleep Of Monsters earned positive buzz with their 2013 debut album Produces Reason.

This saturnalian sequel was recorded in an old Spanish hilltop fort (inevitably) and expands on the band’s fondness for doomy widescreen melodrama, from the haunted majesty of Poison King to the roaring waltz-time sea shanty Foreign Armies East, its mournful trumpet fanfares suggesting a victory march tinged with defeat.

Singer Ike Vil possesses a rich, zombie-croak voice in that classic Iggy Pop/Dave Vanian/Andrew Eldritch mode, while his ripe lyrics are steeped in grim fairy tales and occult folklore.

The background chorus of female singers is another strong factor in the album’s sumptuous sound, notably on the courtly orchestral duet Golden Bough and the grand finale Land Of Nod, which hurtles towards a blood-red sunset accompanied by a team of Wagnerian valkyries. It’s schlock rock, of course, but the most seductive and luxurious kind of schlock.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.