When Spencer Chamberlain founded Sleepwave he was not setting out to create the next Underoath, nor is that something that one should expect when listening to Sleepwave’s debut album Broken Compass. It goes without saying that Chamberlain was still great impacted by Underoath and Sleepwave’s sound has a bit of a resemblance to Chamberlain’s former band, but the Sleepwave adds unique sounds to the mix including more industrial elements mixed in with some ambient sounds. I wouldn’t quite compare the two too much, though, since Underoath was a metalcore band and Sleepwave has a much more modern hard rock sound to it.
Sleepwave makes a name for themselves by stating to have been influenced by bands like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and the like. This is certainly evident in many of the tracks off of Broken Compass. Specifically, the songs “Rock and Roll Is Dead And So Am I” and “The Wolf” showcase this sound. These tracks scream hard rock from the get go. I could see myself head banging to these songs for hours, and I don’t really do that often. In “Rock and Roll Is Dead And So Am I” the instrumentals focus on an industrial sound, while the lyrics are rather dark: “I will just stay here till I don’t feel safe/And I don’t expect you to fade away/Nothing is calm here and nothing feels right/We’re all dying/Just on the inside”. To add to the 90’s hard rock sound, Chamberlain’s vocals are a little scratchier than usual. The track ends on a high-pitched yell that throws it all together.
“The Wolf” adds to this sound by incorporating fast-paced instrumentals. It’s the most energetic track on the record. Furthermore, the track has half yelled/half sung vocals that intensify its sound. “The Wolf” is one of the few tracks on the album that incorporates unclean vocals, which will certainly remind listeners of Underoath. This song manages to perfectly depict both the metalcore and hard rock sound that makes this album so different.
Not only does that album include hard rock elements through the instrumentation, but an ambient sound is mixed into the record. “Whole Again” is introduced by a dark electronic sound that transitions into a more rock and roll sound that ties in a bit of a pop element as well. People who listen to both electronic and rock music could easily vibe to this track. “Disgusted: Disguised” further pushes this ambient sound, but ties in more hard rock elements to it. It begins with an industrial sounding electronic beat that is very dark that goes into an even darker guitar part. This track is one that you could easily lose yourself in. I’d gladly leave it on repeat for hours.
Broken Compass ends on a high note with its titular track “Broken Compass”. The track is the most ambient-sounding song off the album. The vocals are very dragged out and echoed, adding to the song’s peaceful sound. Eventually some more intense instrumentals kick in with a drum line that ties the whole piece together.
Sleepwave has succeeded in creating an album that is energetic and in many ways reminiscent of the hard rock sound of the late 90’s. Broken Compass is a record that’ll be great through the ages and I’d honestly recommend it to anyone who loves music. There’s no specific way to label the record, but it ties in so many great elements that it’s absolutely worth listening to.