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The Sleeping: Questions and Answers

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The Sleeping: Questions and Answers

It's a ballsy bunch o' bastards who form a band and then name themselves The Sleeping; a name like that just invites snarky reviews. However, I advise you to get past the name, because these guys play like they came prepared to fight: on edge, real fast and raw as hell. Right in the midlands between hard core and prog-rock, their latest disc Questions and Answers is a chunk of sonic glass dipped in aggro, dusted with thunder and rolled in complex melody.

Unlike some bands I've heard in the past with prog-rock leanings, these Long Islanders took the time to master their craft before rolling down this path. Hard core thumpers like "The Climb" alternate with organ-flavored rock pieces like "The Big Breakdown-Day 3 (The Escape)," tied together by Douglas Robinson's anguished roar (evoking Tool's Maynard James Keenan), only to segue into neo-rock balladry with the keyboard-and-acoustic-guitar salsa of "King of Hearts."

Of the many individual feats of musical legerdemain these guys pull off (including the martial chant at the conclusion of "King of Hearts"), the best is that each and every song, no matter the direction or influence they take, feels like a piece of an organic whole. From the melodic, lounge jazz-infused anger of "3 Cigarettes" to the sadness Robinson wails to the rafters in "Dearest Mistake," this foursome never makes a slip emotionally or musically. The Sleeping really are that eclectic, and they really are that talented. Questions and Answers is one of the best damn CDs you'll find on the new release rack this year.

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