WORDS: Laura McCarthy
With a career spanning over more than ten years, ADEPT are back with their fourth studio album Sleepless.
After a pretty melancholy speech about happiness, the band throws full pelt into the opening song Black Veins. Instantly catchy, there no question that this album has been worth the wait. A choir of voices chant, the guitars churn out melodies and the bass weighs heavy as the drums beat relentless. Vocally, this is metalcore/ post hardcore at its best. There is a fantastic range of tones coming from this song alone, the tempo changing up every minute or so, yet never losing its essence as a huge track. Finding the balance between going hard and musical serenity is never easy, but ADEPT make it seem like child’s play. Equally as gorgeous in its arrangement is Wounded. High soaring guitar riffs merge and overlap with the grind of chugging bass lines and deep melodies. Strong and confident, this track will definitely be a contender for your time as a track to repeat. In much the same vein, Dark Clouds is some classy stuff. Hard, but still with room to get a really good groove going, it fits perfectly between accessible and unique. Leaning towards cleaner vocals here, the message is uplifting and determined.
Carry the Weight is the latest single from the band, released only days before the album drops, and it’s clearer than daylight as to why. Hugely catchy, its roots in the hardcore scene cannot be disputed. Yet don’t write this off as simply pandering to the masses, this is a track with great originality. Finding the right place for your music between your own originality and something that brand new listeners can easily come to enjoy is no easy thing, and it takes a long time to work out where you fit as a band into this spectrum. ADEPT truly have mastered their sound to great effect, meaning they can shift between the comfortable and the more specific. The same can be said for Rewind the Tape, being almost pop-punk with how catchy it is, it could easily be found on any mainstream radio station, as well as in some of the more alternative playlists available. Not the strongest song in this mix, but still very good nonetheless.
Things slow down for Down and Out, bringing in some beautiful riffs and some exceptional musicianship between the whole band. Doing hell for leather is impressive, but more so is the ability to make a more mellow sounding hardcore song with all the angst and aggression that would in the hands of others really need the heat of hard playing. Tempering that sound allows for a more expensive experience that an album like this truly needs. The Choirs of Absolution introduces itself with gentle keys and more orchestral strings, not something often found on an album such as Sleepless. Vocally, the deep growl of the Robert Ljung is juxtaposed to the angelic choir in the chorus, while the clean vocals smoothly transition into something blissfully impressive over the brutal drums and bass. Taking a turn to more usual territory, Lights is still incredibly good listening. While it’s not the most original sounding, it’s still stellar, with a kickass melody.
Coming close to the close is The Sickness, a song that wholeheartedly encompasses this album. This is a solid collection of songs that all work on their own but as a full ensemble is true musical magic. Hardcore at its best, the song smashed you around, proving that no matter how close you think you are to the end, there’s always something more to give. This feels like the kind of message ADEPT are trying to put forward here, that the long road of musical creativity is hard, it’s diverse and it’s a lot of fun. The chanting chorus on this track a lot bring together the feeling of unity that hopefully the fans will respond to at live shows.
Finally, title track Sleepless is another song with a spoken message about loss and desires for better times. ADEPT are very good at sending a message in more poetic lines as well as in profanity and brutal screams. It’s a bittersweet ending, the kind of happy-sad that those who connect to the lyrics and the major uplift of the music will appreciate more than other tracks on this album. This one might have benefitted from be slightly longer, making that feeling last, and depending on your sentiments, this might leave you feeling a little dissatisfied. Whatever your opinions on this track, however, this is simply a brilliant album and a hugely satisfying effort all round from ADEPT. Long may they continue to blast out their superb brand of catchy, original hardcore.
Sleepless is out 19th of February via Napalm Records