Almost a year ago Underoath bid the music world farewell, and ex singer/guitarist Spencer Chamberlain announced a new project, Sleepwave. As a huge Underoath fan, I was intrigued by how the project was going to sound as Chamberlain championed a back to “straight forward rock sound”. Being the former vocalist of Underoath could be restricting as fans expect a sing/scream cadence. Sometimes, you don’t feel like screaming. The latter songs of Underoath started to scratch the surface of Chamberlain’s clean vocals. Damn, did he step it up. In the Sleepwave single,”Through the Looking Glass” not only are his vocals stronger, but there is a nostalgic 90’s feel, reminiscent of an industrial sound that Filter was famous for, with a modern twist.
“Through the Looking Glass” starts off with a Nine Inch Nails styled sample, accompanied with a grooving bass line. The music is built around the vocal structure as if the vocals were recorded first and the instrumentals were added to fill out the jigsaw puzzle. There’s a slow build up that adds guitar parts that leads up to the searing and heavy chorus. Even during the bridge, there is a moment where Chamberlain does scream (for two seconds, but you gotta take what you can get) and a speaking part that would make Jonathan Davis (of Korn) proud.
The song’s subject matter finds the vocalist in a push-and-pull type of relationship. I get the sense that the character in the song is trying to reason that the bad parts of the union are necessary to get to the good parts as can be noted in the following lyrics: “Isn’t this all just a part of the process”. Something is very wrong, and with the partner falling, our character is also feeling the dissension because they cannot cure the pain as addressed in the cries of the chorus “I couldn’t save you/killing me”.
This is just as personal as Underoath, but not within the structure that fans would expect. Sleepwave is a new band with an agenda to carve out their own destiny, exploring multiple genres of rock while bettering their existent craft.