‘Dead Sun Worship’
(Self-released: March 2015)
The debut album from Ireland’s Venus Sleeps is a fairly brief but thoroughly loveable release. This Dublin four-piece sounds like Electric Wizard channeling the cosmic spirit of Hawkwind, with healthy helpings of traditional doom and stoner metal.
‘Dead Sun Worship’ is a tale of two distinct halves: the first couple of songs are brilliantly unusual, spaced-out doom misfits, while the final two songs are lumbering skull-crushers. And the two halves are separated by a gently hypnotising cover of Syd Barrett’s ‘Golden Hair’.
Venus Sleeps do not attempt your pummel your psyche into surrender, relying on creativity rather than power. Their songs cleverly twist and swirl whilst rarely losing their beard-trembling momentum or over-stretching into prog territory. There’s loads of spacey swooshing and pedal-based shenanigans throughout, and a droning psychedelic undercurrent that takes your mind to far-flung corners of the galaxy where no light ever reaches.
Opener ‘Ether Sleeper’ is like ‘Crack The Skye’-era Mastodon, with its swirling riffs and intergalactic chorus, while the second track, ‘Dawn Of Nova’ is a similarly quirky take on stoner metal, with heavyweight guitar tones battling against dextrous vocals.
Then comes the second half, and things get slower and heavier. That said, even on these final two arrangements, which see Venus Sleep draw more deeply on a Black Sabbath influence, the yin-yang balance between founder/singer/guitarist Sie Carroll’s triumphantly sorrowful vocal melodies and the band’s bone-crunching amplified thunder helps things to sound dynamic, fresh and, at times, spiritual. These latter compositions might linger too long for their own good, undermining their potency a little, but they’re still damn good.
Awesome artwork, great riffs, massive sound, memorable vocals: ‘Dead Sun Worship’ is an impressive debut album. It’s a vigorous, smart and often highly original take on psychedelic doom metal from an interesting new Irish band. Time to wake up to Venus Sleeps.