Review by: Meriel Longmore
Review score: 4/5
The term “Black Metal Art” is thrown around quite a lot, though in the case of SLEEPING PEONIES it is an accurate description in all senses. The band resides in the East of England & consists of one main sole member……a welcome discovery for those looking to find outstanding Black Metal from the UK, as in my case. All elements of “Rose Curl, Sea Swirl” reflect a pensive, expressive and artistic approach; from the dreamy sensitively created atmospheres, nostalgic yet pleasingly melancholic CD artwork, to the beautiful & profound poetic lyrics. SLEEPING PEONIES combines a number of genre styles and influences resulting in an individual and creatively rich sound. It is possible to hear a number of influences throughout the release, however SLEEPING PEONIES has a strongly formed character as their imaginative moniker and track-titles would suggest.
The overall style could be described as a combination of atmospheric ambient Black Metal, Shoegaze, Post-Rock and Dream-Pop. Bands such as ALCEST, BURZUM, early FORGOTTEN WOODS, JOYLESS, LYRINX, ISOLATION, AUSTERE, VELVET CACOON, NUIT NOIRE, WRATH OF THE WEAK, LONESUMMER, TARANTEL, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, & AMESOEURS come to mind while listening. In light of this; supporters of the aforementioned bands would be well-advised to experience “Rose Curl, Sea Swirl” as they would surely enjoy the release greatly. However, SLEEPING PEONIES add other characteristics to this already highly effective art-form. For example; as in the case of NUIT NOIRE, the sound also has unusual punky characteristics especially when it comes to vocal delivery. The vocals may be described as being of the BURZUMic variety; emotionally screamed & reverberated, however, vocally SLEEPING PEONIES also bring to mind Screamo / D.I.Y. Punk bands such as MATHS (UK), ORCHID, & CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE. These sort of eccentric details add to the overall atmospheres present & also the ability of the release to transport the imagination to other realms. SLEEPING PEONIES has an adept skill at storytelling & translating memories through both music and lyrics & throughout the release the listener can explore an isolated, beautiful and dream-filled nautical world that VELVET CACOON themselves would be proud of.
This is outsider Black Metal at its best; a warm, bassy, blistering wall-of-sound, interlaced with raw, honest emotion, subtle ambience, atypical varied tempo drumming, epic soaring melodies, somber piano pieces, haunting female vocals and most of all a real sense of artistry, personality & imagination. “Rose Curl, Sea Swirl” consists of seven tracks that are guaranteed to take you on a subconscious journey. Amazing!