Sleep In Heads – On the Air

Rating: 4/5
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Released: 2018
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Band line-up:

Roman – Drums
Sonya – Vocals
Fann – Bass
Serj – Guitars
Natali – Violins


1. Pacifying
2. Vagrant
3. Deceiver
4. Time Like the Sand
5. Blue Fear
6. Secret Shelter


Atmospheric prog metal band Sleep In Heads formed in 2015 in Ukraine, and they released their debut full length album ‘On the Air’ last March through Noizr. The five-piece offer their audience dreamscapes, groovy riffs, female vocals and violins all blended together. The vocalist and lyricist comments: ‘The album (is about) life here and now, (about) a life filled with all kinds of emotions, events, moods, like a song in the air. Each track encourages you not to become isolated, but to be open and sincere.’

Filled with emotions, this music certainly is. Calmness, agitation, lust for life and passion are portrayed through the music in a way that isn’t at all over-the-top, but instead varied in an always tasteful and intriguing way. Perhaps the ‘here and now’ concept isn’t totally effective, as the album comes across more as thoughtful than anything else. This is far from hedonistic punk, though that’s a nitpick and not everyone will agree with that idea.

Can you imagine The Gathering’s gothic atmosphere, combined with the epic compositions of Opeth and the groove metal patterns of slower Metallica? Because that’s what you get. It’s a winning combination, as goth can be over-reliant on creating a certain dark mood, whilst neglecting cool well thought out ostinatos. Instead, in the genre just described the musicians often opt for almost constant everyday power chord patterns which whilst are crushing can be monotonous. However, not all riffs with SIH are creative and addictive. Some are cliched 80s scalic pattens, though the Lacuna Coil styled dramatic and powerful vocals on top of them partly take the listener’s mind off that fact. These people do use power chords, but only when necessary.

This isn’t a release where all songs have the same formula. You can expect a range of tempos from reasonably slow, to raging blast beat blitzes. Sometimes the music is busy and dense with only heavy metal instruments playing, other times it’s more hypnotic, with only classical instruments sounding. Other times everything plays together. However whilst there are a lot of cool tricks going on, arpeggios that relentlessly go up and down in pitch can become a little annoying in some parts.

In conclusion, this is very well written stuff with few things that are arguably misjudged. Not only that, the performance of the songs can’t really be faulted. They may be a million miles from Dream Theater standard in terms of physical skill, but they groove wonderfully in a totally non-robotic fashion. That’s more important to many. The album’s main weakness however, is that it’s rather similar in sound to Lacuna Coil. To be fair though, Sleep’ are more epic with less poppy structures than the supergroup. This album is certainly worth buying and not only that, it would make a good start for anyone new to the genres these guys play.

Review by Simon Wiedemann