SLEEP OF MONSTERS is the newest project from lyricist/vocalist/poet Ike Vil, best known as the vocalist for one of the greatest bands that almost no one’s ever heard *(outside of Finland, anyway), BABYLON WHORES. There’s a bit of a story here *(isn’t there always? Really, I just love to watch myself write), but that’s just par for the course.
I first heard the BABYLON WHORES in 1999, on an ep called “Deggael: A Rat’s God” (1998) being given to me by an acquaintance who had acquired it for a review and found it not his thing. *(He also gave me a copy of the first PENIS FLYTRAP ep that day, as well – – – I made out like a bandit, heh.) Anyway, before I digress further, upon first listen the BW ep wrapped its tendrils of a thick, distinctly different sounding form of deathrock (more on the slightly metallic DANZIG end of the spectrum) around my being entirely, and I was drawn into its lush occultic beauty of harshness full throttle. On that first listen, and every one after, I noticed more depth within the music, more layers to the lyrics, entirely rooted in Thelemic ideas *(of which I had just begun to study at the time – – – a nice synchronicity, I do say). In fact a large portion of that first album seemed largely based on Aleister Crowley’s brilliant “Diary of a Drug Fiend.” Of corpse, this had astonished and shocked me to the point that between the music itself and the lyrical content, I ended up going out to Tower Records a few days later and purchasing both of the full lengths they had out at that point, “Cold Heaven” (1997) and *(in my opinion, their masterpiece) “King Fear” (1999). Interestingly enough, the band was from Finland, and finding anything out about them at all was virtually impossible. This was a different time, a different world, before all you millennials and all your info at the press of a button on your wrist bullshit *(hey, I’m allowed to be crotchety). However, info on them is still not easy to come across, even in this technologically-driven, Future Shock *(Alvin Toffler was right – – – whodda thought? Go find the book) hellscape of a dying world in which we live.
In 2002, “Death Of The West” came out, their final album, and a fine way to disappear. But that that was just it. They actually disappeared. Three ep’s, three full lengths, a seven-inch and a single. Then – – – nothing. They disappeared as mysteriously as they had appeared. As had what I so loved about the band, the true hook in the music *(which was then and still is now a one of a kind sound), were the vocal stylings & lyrics of Ike Vil, almost like an instrument itself, belting out well read tales of histories and experiences of the occultic, the mystic, and the real. He had a true understanding of that which he was singing about. And if one had a familiarity and affinity for the particular subject matter, such as I did, they then ‘got it’ as well. *(On a side note, there are really only a few vocalist/songwriters of the underground realm that have been able to successfully pull this off continuously, truly knowing of the varied occultisms of which they sing about: Glenn Danzig, Alex Story [CANCERSLUG, DOYLE], Roky Erickson, Thomas G. Warrior [HELLHAMMER, CELTIC FROST, APOLLYON SUN, TRIPTYKON] and King Diamond, to name but a few off the top of my head – – – but there are a couple of others.)
Then I stumbled upon this, entirely by accident. While making a BABYLON WHORES mix on my youtube page, I kept seeing this SLEEP OF MONSTERS popping up in the suggestions. Curiosity finally caught the cat, and I took the bait. Here, this is BW vocalist Ike Vils newest project, a much more sonically-subdued journey down different paths of mysticism, philosophies, and strange occultic tales of yore. There are experiments with sound and standard song structures *(which BABYLON WHORES always used to great effect, one of their many standout qualities, HAWKWIND’S Nik Turner even performing with them on “King Fear”), but taken to very different levels. “Horses Of The Sun,” for example, is a morose, spacey tale of the ultimate failure of the Crusades, those to attempt return from those boiling blood-sand battlefields contemplating their foul deeds committed in the name of a god that wasn’t there, their disillusionment in the search for a myth, and the odd liberation through guilt they feel as they wither up like husks in the sand, parched and alone, with souls they know are tainted whilst slipping into death. *(Or at least that’s what I got out of it.)
PRODUCES REASON is lyrically on par, a bit more mature, more varied, and still for the well read, not that it’s synesthetic qualities (along with those of the music itself) can’t be enjoyed just as the soothing musical journey that they are, but for the historian or student/practitioner of various Pagan-Systemic artforms, and the well read on varied archaic philosophies, the lyrics will be better understood, henceforth more appreciated. Although as stated, the album itself has a quality that is synesthetic *(at least to those prone to that), and if it catches you, you’re in for an interesting ride.
Also, the otherworldly factor is amped up tremendously by the addition of The Furies: Three angelically voiced Sirens who provide the complex choral backing to Ike’s occultic angsts, the Muses of the Ages who lend a hand in his own powerfully distinct lyrical redemptions and regrets, the stabs of harsh truths, skillfully worded and slyly jabbed between the lines of songs like “Magick Without Tears,” the Crowleyan closer to the album that, in its final moments, Ororborouses around to perfectly fuse with the intro “Holy & Holy & Holy.” Tales within truths and truths within tales, the wordplay (as always with Vil) is top notch.
SLEEP OF MONSTERS is musically much lighter than the BABYLON WHORES, but no less sincere. In fact, hints of the old BW sound creep in here and there, on some of the heavier tracks, but with Ike Vile’s style and lyrics being as singular sounding as they are, that may be unavoidable – – – and it’s not a complaint, merely an observation. It also seems to have come out of the Abyss into which BW perpetually stared, perhaps even swan-dove into, these being tales of lessons learned and of progress made, but looking back with an almost utter disillusionment, and looking forward as though it were an empty pallet. Mysticism through Jungian eyes. Long ago you accepted you were in-between worlds, and now you see, with age and maturity, what cycles round again & again & again. Accepting that is something else altogether.
THE SLEEP OF REASON PRODUCES MONSTERS is truly something different to behold. Recommended for fans of space/stoner rock, post-punk, deathrock/goth, and good songwriting and lyricism, as well as those with an interest in the occult, or the mystical, and who appreciate experimentation in sound and fine wordplay. An open mind is essential. A worn soul, not so much, but it helps.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org