REVIEW: Sleepwave – ‘Broken Compass’

sleepwave

Artist: Sleepwave
Album: Broken Compass
Label: Epitaph Records
Genre: Alternative / Hard Rock

Everyone has their demons. The demise of something that made you who you are and picking up the pieces afterwards is never easy. No matter what it is. For Sleepwave‘s frontman and leader, Spencer Chamberlain, the break-up of his former band, Underoath, was that demon. It left him on his back, questioning everything. It came from his own mouth.

When you put on Broken Compass for the first time, and just hear the desperation and anxiety and all kinds of emotions in his voice, and hear it in his words, you know that this is his way of dealing with it. “Let’s all just stand around while I’m ripping at the seams,” he yells in “Inner Body Revolt.” This is a whole new Spencer, that has come out on top. And he’s here to tell his story.

I have to think that although throughout most of this album, the lyrical content seems to be directed at someone, maybe part of it is introspective and shows Chamberlain talking himself through his turmoil. Songs like “Paper Planes,” “Rock n Roll Is Dead And So Am I” and “Disgusted: Disguised” seem to suggest that. While “Paper Planes” isn’t quite towards himself, it’s self motivating at the same time. Like “I won’t get on your level” type stuff. Where as when he sings “Makes me sink again / didn’t you see this coming / didn’t I hear you say that everything I ever did never mattered anyway” could be a self-reflective or referring to feeling empty and useless.

Anger and frustration come out, too. And it seems to be directed towards someone or something. “The Wolf” and “Hold Your Head Up” are very foreboding and in your face, and speak towards someone who turned their back on him. I can’t help but think this is about Underoath, as much as it pains me.

Musically, the album draws from influences and wears them on its sleeve. Pages from Nine Inch Nails and Alice in Chains are torn from their books and brought to life with the industrialized rock that were so relevant in the ’90s. Spencer has not been shy about these and it appears he doesn’t care. Songs like “Replace Me,” “Whole Again,” and “Broken Compass” all are saturated with it. And it rocks.

With the success of Underoath, and the obvious stance Spencer played in that band, it’s hard not to find similarities, whether or not they were intended. Underoath fans can rejoice and jump on board with this; “Broken Compass” has a brutal breakdown. “Repeat Routine” has the same vibes. But they’re small similarities. And Spencer screams/yells. Not frequently, but they are there. It’s called passion, and it’s fitting when it’s done, versus every lyric of every song.

My final thought is for the people that heard “Through the Looking Glass” the first time and wrote the band off as basic and bland, because I know you’re out there. I had some questions at first, too. See them live, and listen to the album as a whole. The song fits perfectly with the rest, and together, it’s damn good. Hard rock needs a band like this.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Corey From – Follow him on Twitter.

Corey From

Corey From, from Kansas City, MO, when not thinking about or listening to music, obsessively thinks about Royals baseball, a platter of ribs (or BBQ in general) and cold beer. Nothing special really.
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