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.