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Sleep Maps - We Die For Truth CD (album) cover

WE DIE FOR TRUTH

Sleep Maps

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.00 | 4 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The sound of a lost future"

That is how the artist describes this project, but I don't know. Maybe a lost past and a new future? Sleep Maps is the vehicle for multi-instrumentalist and Sci-Fi fan Ben Kaplan, who currently is based in California. Musical influences include Russian Circles, Isis, Smashing Pumpkins, and Deafheaven. Perhaps just as important to his apparent themes for this album are his writing influences, veteran science-fiction writers Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Harlan Ellison.

"We Die For Truth" is his most ambitious project to date. It blends instrumental post-rock and post-metal into a sound which attempts to give life to lofty fictional themes with good results. Kaplan tags his work as "cinematic rock" which is absolutely fitting. Listening to this music makes me feel like I'm watching an epic sci-fi film about bleak dystopias, and yet I hear some hope in the music as well. While there is not a vocalist, Kaplan uses audio clips of scientists to give the music some human commentary, not unlike the manner in which the Floyd use Stephen Hawking. The gorgeous artwork brings much to the experience, featuring deep blues behind stars showing us the vastness of space that I believe inspires, at least partially, the music.

Kaplan tells his stories with a layered guitar assault, a wonderful mixing of soft echoey notes with heavier and massively distorted chords and chaotic effects. Sometimes it feels like post-rock with the typical emotional swoon and waves, other times it veers more metallic, heavy, dark, perhaps brushed with just a bit of Nine Inch Nails influence? Yet even these two tendencies are nicely dressed with long spacey passages of quieter mood and melody. His drumming can be a bit mechanical and uniform at times and yet this style seems to work in the context of the somewhat cold and melancholy backdrops. The 5-10 minute song lengths allow ample time for exploration and building of tension. And it often sounds like a cold, steely veneer, like movement, emptiness. The 10-minute closer "See You in a Thousand Years" is a really lovely ending for this solid album, big and bold. I think Sleep Maps has very good promise. There is attention to dynamics here without bludgeoning the listener to death. Lovers of futuristic sounding instrumental music should not delay checking this one out. 3 1/2 of 5.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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