Everyone knows the origin of Batman. Bruce orphaned as a boy by a random criminal, dedicates his life to fighting the scourge of crime. He travels the world and trains himself in a number of skills to meet this goal. One night, as he thinks of ways to disguise himself and strike fear into the hearts of criminals, in flies a bat into his study. He declares “I shall become a bat!” Thus, Batman is born. Listening to ΓΓΓ, the latest from Sleep of Monsters, one can imagine mastermind Sami Hassinen has a similar origin. As a young boy in Finland, he dedicates himself to forming a band. By the time he can form one, he sleeps night after night restlessly dreaming of himself as a monster. One night a random copy of Bauhaus’ In The Flat Field flies through his window and wakes him up. He then stands up and declares “I will create a gothic, occult rock band called Sleep of Monsters! Also, we’ll have a lead singer with a deliciously rich baritone!”
It is very unlikely that’s the actual origin of Sleep of Monsters and admittedly they don’t sound like goth progenitors Bauhaus (however, lead singer Ike Vil does have a deliciously rich baritone). There is a gothic tinge to the music Sleep of Monsters. Like that key moment in Batman’s origin though, the music on ΓΓΓ is very dramatic. The focus on Greek Mysticism turns the album into not so much a concept album but a theater piece. Each song seems to tell a story and further a narrative than exist as separate pieces music. It is very easy to imagine this album conceived as a live thing with the album being a more permanent document. In being a very theatrical band though, they run the risk of being either deeply sincere or extremely campy. This is a band where the female vocalists get credited as “Furies” and whose publicity photos tend to evoke the Victorian. Depending on the listener, it’s very much an aesthetic, very campy, or possibly both.
Still there’s things on ΓΓΓ that Sleep of Monsters does well. The band for all of its theatrical posturing does atmosphere well. They’re clearly students of moody Gothic rock. The vocal interplay between Ike Vil and The Furies gives the songs a deeply haunting quality. It’s rare these days, outside of a guest spot, hearing heavy music where male and female vocalists work together. Even if other parts of the album don’t work for listeners, it’s hard to shake the times when Vil’s baritone and the ethereal vocals when one of the Furies play off each other.
Like the Dark Knight, ΓΓΓ shows Sleep of Monsters are on a mission. This band clearly commits to a gothic brand of theatricality. Their performance can be heard as either deeply sincere or deeply campy. Whatever it is, the band certainly performs it with gusto.
— D. Morris
ΓΓΓ is available now on Svart Records. For more information on Sleep of Monsters, visit their Facebook page.