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Sleep Terror - Probing Tranquility CD (album) cover


Sleep Terror

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The continuing evolution of heavy metal is one of the most active in modern music and as it turns out, room for progressive change between the angry chunks of steel was plentiful. Multi-instrumentalist Luke Jaeger (guitars, bass, keys, drum programs) is part of that new voice with a devotion to metallic heaviness but a desire to shake things up a bit. At times his 'Probing Tranquility' - an instrumental meditation on sleep, or the lack of it - can be schizophrenic, breaking into strange modulations or trad jazz chords in among the riffs. But it all works beautifully as a whole with great arithmetic, pointed melodies of shredding guitar layered three or four thick, neo-classical outbreaks, and some great angular squeals. Each cut sidewinds its way forward, no one track particularly important but rather acting as a single creature, fully unified and a little dangerous. Mr. Jaeger is a determined craftsman who knows precisely what he wants and how to zap it with electricity like some mad doctor... except he's real and will smash your brain. Hints of early Exodus can be heard as well as Metallica's more prog moments and a bit of Malmsteen, though the compositions are far more complex and feature the occasional keyboard sound. Cerebral, metal for the mind, a hard-tempered exercise of calculation, discipline and obsessive/compulsive pattern-making. Absolutely tremendous stuff.

Report this review (#128172)
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Probing Tranquility was written and performed by only one man, Luke Jaeger, founder of Sleep Terror; after losing their singer and drummer, he was the only member left, and he decided to continue to pursue his musical ambitions by himself (I have no idea if he's looking for replacements). I'm not even sure if he'll be able to find people to play this music. This album is comprised of flurries of shredding, chugging and random jazz, funk, synth, or clean guitar segments that can be anywhere from one chord, to a few notes backed by the most ridiculous drum programming I think I've ever heard. I'm wondering if he's doing this because he doesn't want an actual drummer to play with him or if no drummers want to play with him because he's doing this. I now recall that the drummer was no longer in the band because he was having trouble playing their music. But then again, this is typical grindcore drumming, so I suppose there's got to be someone out there who can and will play this with him. But you know that whenever Luke shares the new songs with the drummer, that guy is guarenteed to give him the you've got to be kidding me expression at least a couple of times.

What I appreciate about this is that Luke is clearly not taking himelf very seriously and is trying to have some fun. Every song will have you giggling with the nutty juxtapositions of Necrophagist-metal and/or Malmsteen-metal, and whatever random ideas the guy wants to throw in here and there (as stated earlier). However, the novelty does wear off after about 6-8 songs. Getting through the rest of the album will be easy enough - it's only about 30 minutes total in length - but it's likely that you're only going to do it once. The music has no lasting power, but I am certainly going to share it with more people than, say, PsyOpus. It's goofy, but it doesn't seem like a joke, and it can be a fun listen, especially if you're sharing it with somebody. You won't get attached to it at all, and the quality of the recording is pretty crappy, but it's still something to hear. It's not quite worth 3 stars, but it's better than 2. So at least for the time being, I'm going to rate it at 3 stars.

Report this review (#165721)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Probing Tranquillity' - Sleep Terror (5/10)

Playing in the instrumental tech metal style that has picked up speed over the past decade, Sleep Terror is a one man project of guitarist Luke Jaeger. Although it was once a full band, Sleep Terror fell apart, but Luke decided to keep going with his music under the same name. Although I have not heard Sleep Terror in its full-band incarnation, I imagine that a host of musicians may have benefited the music on 'Probing Tranquillity' over one guy doing everything. Luke Jaeger's guitar work is impressive, but the composition here seems like a playground for his shredding ability and technical skills rather than an artistic fulfilment.

Eeking just over the half hour line, 'Probing Tranquillity' is a short, unrelenting dive into jazz- influenced shred metal. Although the album is split into a number of two minute tracks, it all flows as one running composition. However, speaking it terms of its structure, 'Probing Tranquillity' never feels like a well composed epic, but rather drawing comparisons to a sample catalogue. There are no recurring melodies; nothing that will hook a listener in. Although Luke Jaeger is evidently trying to create a tongue-in-cheek caricature of instrumental tech death, it would have benefited the musical experience if there was something more to it.

Although the ideas are sporadic, they are often very similar. Sleep Terror's sound falls in between Malmsteen's school of shred metal, and an energetic slant of rhythmic metal that could be compared to Meshuggah or a slew of modern technical death metal bands. In short, the sound is something I have heard many times before. Where Sleep Terror works well however, is Luke Jaeger's performance itself. 'Probing Tranquillity' feels a little one-sided in its devotion to guitar, but that's where Luke's talent lies; in the guitar. He is able to solo in both the jazz and metal styles quite well, but as my impression of Sleep Terror indicates, there is more needed than musical skill to foster lasting enjoyment in an album.

Report this review (#609793)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 | Review Permalink

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