Sleep In Light by Hundred Year Old ManRelease date: June 17, 2022
Label: Consouling Sounds
There is no doubt that Sleep In Light is an emotional release for fans and for Hundred Year Old Man themselves as it has had a long and arduous journey combined with the deeply sad death of founder and guitarist Owen Pegg. Pertinent to all the struggle and grief Sleep In Light is one of the finest post-metal albums ever produced by a UK band and is a monumental legacy for Pegg and all who have contributed so much to its release.
Whilst the album is a monstrous beast at over 80 minutes it does not keep the listener waiting and the opening combo of ‘A New Terror’, ‘Sleep In Light’ and ‘I Caught A Glimpse Of Myself On Fire’ tear through 38 minutes of some tremendous post-metal. This is very much in the arena of early Cult of Luna with walls of sound that just keep washing over and pouring out of the speakers. The songs don’t drag and there is a constant feeling of progression as they phase through quiet and loud sections. The recording quality is top notch and everything finds a place and the vocal performance of David Ashley Duxbury will live long in memory, it’s beautifully devastating throughout.
What moves this from a great album to an exceptional album is the mixture of various elements especially in the tracks that follow on from the Richard Knox collaborative track ‘Seldom’. Following the droning, pulsing breather the second half of the album shows flashes of sounds the band hasn’t pushed into previously. ‘Honne’ has scents of thick weed infused riffs which usually reside in the annals of Bossk, ‘Stone Sail’ has a tendency to be absolutely pulverising with a dominant drumming performance with some great double kick driving the song and closer ‘Livyatan’ is just a gigantean beast. Here hints of post black-metal flicker in the guitar tone before another post-metal masterclass melds the track with the fingerprints of the presence of the majestic E-L-R.
The album length will have its detractors but it would be insanely critical to say that moments should have been chopped. The album will need time to be absorbed but there is also an instant impact in a lot of tracks. The flow from song to song is seamless and so works as one piece yet individual tracks are perfectly structured to be listened to as stand alone pieces. When Sleep In Light is in moments of slumber it becomes threatening, when it is in full flow there isn’t much it’s not bettering. It is stacked with emotion, consuming atmosphere, dense soundscapes, lush production and ultimate cathartic release, this is post-metal at a high point and feels like a very, very special release.