Reviewed: Heartsick 'Sleep Cycles'

Nearly four years since the release of their self-titled debut effort, Lansing, Michigan’s Heartsick have returned in spectacular fashion with their second album ‘Sleep Cycles’- and it is sure to be one of the stellar releases of 2019.

Consisting of Alfonso Civile (vocals), Jerred Pruneau (guitar), Waylon Fox (bass) and Justin Robinson (drums), the quartet have been playing together for over 20 years, and since they became Heartsick back in 2015, the band have effortlessly grown from seasoned musicians to true masters of their craft, and ‘Sleep Cycles’ emphasises this with an incredible mix of styles, all delivered with cohesion and precision; and it makes you wonder- why aren’t these guys a household name not only in the US, but across the whole damn world?

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Punishing metalcore is the order of the day on tracks such as ‘Affair’, ‘Hate Anthem’ and ‘Her Heart’, while Heartsick show they are just as comfortable in melodic and tender territories on the stunning single ‘Loveletter’ (written about Civile’s father) and the vibrant ‘Methelyne Blue’. The combination of heavy and accessible hard rock arises on the bruising ‘Mike and Drew’- an album highlight for sure (check out the earth-shattering instrumental section midway through), while haunting atmospherics filter through in Deftones-esque fashion on the likes of ‘Snakeman’, and the show-stealing ‘Shadow’, where, imagine Nine Inch Nails’ industrialism combined with Deftones’ experimentation, and the results are an incredible song that is way out leftfield compared to the rest of what has come before it, yet it is utterly vital to the flow of the record and more than deserving to be included within the track listing.

Civile’s lyrical content is breathtakingly real, focusing on themes such as lost loved ones, lost friendships, depression and loneliness, all delivered with a highly impressive vocal range that can be just as sinister as it can be spine-tingling.

L-R: Jerred Pruneau, Alfonso Civile, Waylon Fox, Justin Robinson

L-R: Jerred Pruneau, Alfonso Civile, Waylon Fox, Justin Robinson

‘Sleep Cycles’ reaches out to fans of various sub-genres of the rock and metal world, some Nu-Metal influences also seeping through on occasion, and it is an emotive journey which rewards the listener fully. Plenty of meaty riffs, explosive drum sections and huge basslines- Heartsick have delivered an album of near-perfection, if ever there is such a thing, and it quite frankly blows all the ‘higher level’ talent right out of the water.

You want real modern metal- we introduce to you Heartsick, and we urge you to listen to ‘Sleep Cycles’.

‘Sleep Cycles’ is independently released on February 1. Visit www.facebook.com/heartsickband for more information on the band, and also to purchase a physical copy of the album.

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