Sasha Giller – guitars, vocals
Alexander Dovgan’ – drums
1. Lucid Dream
2. The Celebration Of Despair And Woe
3. Fighting With The Rain
4. Winter Wedding Ceremony
5. The Mistress Of Dark Art
6. Nightmare Lullaby
7. Insomnious Autumnal Night
8. Sleep Paralysis
Tragedy In Hope, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, are set to unleash their debut full-length Sleep Paralysis on February the 12th. The album follows up Smile At Death, which was released back in 2019. As well as performing vocal duties on Sleep Paralysis, Sasha Giller plays all instruments on the album except for the drums. The drumming is taken care of by Alexander Dovgan.
The story told in the album’s lyrics is as gripping as it is chilling. Guitarist, vocalist, and composer Sasha Giller describes it as follows:
“The story you are going to hear isn’t only a trip across the dark dream world; it is also the story of fighting with yourself. It’s the story about how strong you can get once you accept yourself as you are.
The story of the album starts when the protagonist wakes up in a dream and goes to the mirror where he sees a twisted image of himself, the phantom monster of sleep paralysis. He escapes the place he found himself in, trying to run away from the bleak reality. He flies among white clouds trying to find a rainbow, but falls to the ground when thunderclouds and a storm come.
The world beneath the clouds is filled with rains and a piercing cold. To find a rainbow there seems to be impossible and the darkness slowly starts to swallow him as many others before. He doesn’t give up chasing it, but the truth is, it is him, who is the phantom monster behind the mirror.He is just the mind projection of the true protagonist, who sleeps paralysed seeing nightmares. He tries to explain to the true protagonist that they are two parts of the whole one and only if they accept each other, they both will be able to escape the dark world they are stuck in. But when sleep paralysis finally ends, a lucid dream starts again.”
“Lucid Dream” kicks things with an acoustic guitar melody that evolves into an electric guitar sound, the transition really driving home the terror of realising that one is trapped in a dream-like state. Sasha’s range of vocal styles used complements the ideas explored lyrically. A very strong start to Sleep Paralysis.
Next up is “The Celebration Of Despair And Woe,” which shares its name with Tragedy In Hope’s 2018 demo release. The vocals become even more complex here, really showcasing Giller’s capability.
With its wailing (and wonderful) guitar work and sombre keys, it’s plain to see why “Fighting With The Rain” was chosen as the lead single. Dovgan’s drumming alternates between a steady pace and blistering blast beats at times, which can be likened to drizzling rainfall and torrential downpour the protagonist may be experiencing. There are some atmospheric flavours here that match the theme of the song’s lyrics, the repetition is also very effective.
An unsettling spoken word segment leads the way where lyrics are concerned on the fourth track “Winter Wedding Ceremony,” setting the tone for the next few minutes. The melodic keys bring to mind a church organ, and along with the contrasting vocal styles do well to illustrate the song and sum up its title.
“The Mistress Of Dark Art” swiftly picks up where its predecessor left off, beginning with harp-like strings that are reminiscent of the introduction for opening number “Lucid Dream”. The vocal assault soon interrupts the calm, followed by a heavier approach to the instrumentation that ties in with the previous track. The buzz of guitars intertwined with the music box-esque percussion results in an enjoyably eerie experience, narrated by Sasha’s varied lyric delivery on “Nightmare Lullaby”.
The second single from the album “Insomnious Autumnal Night” seems to keep to a more conventional brand of symphonic black metal in its initial moments, but as the track progresses, elements such as the distinctive clean vocals and other ingredients from earlier in the album cause the penultimate song to morph into something more.
Album closer “Sleep Paralysis” implements most of the best bits from Sleep Paralysis such as relentless riffs, vocals that range from screams to cleans, and atmospheric keys. Giller’s vocals express the torment of the protagonist afflicted by sleep paralysis, while at the same time portraying the contrast between reality, dreams, and nightmares with an emotional, dynamic performance.
For most listeners, Sleep Paralysis will fall into the category of symphonic black metal, as this the common thread that runs through each of the songs sound-wise. However, there are certainly other musical influences, with the varied vocals providing even more of a unique quality to the eight tracks. Prepare to be gripped tight by the hold of Tragedy In Hope‘s Sleep Paralysis!