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Sleep Terror - Probing Tranquility - 50%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

Playing in the instrumental tech metal style that has picked up speed over the past decade, Sleep Terror is a one man project of guitarist Luke Jaeger. Although it was once a full band, Sleep Terror fell apart, but Luke decided to keep going with his music under the same name. Although I have not heard Sleep Terror in its full-band incarnation, I imagine that a host of musicians may have benefited the music on 'Probing Tranquillity' over one guy doing everything. Luke Jaeger's guitar work is impressive, but the composition here seems like a playground for his shredding ability and technical skills rather than an artistic fulfilment.

Eeking just over the half hour line, 'Probing Tranquillity' is a short, unrelenting dive into jazz- influenced shred metal. Although the album is split into a number of two minute tracks, it all flows as one running composition. However, speaking it terms of its structure, 'Probing Tranquillity' never feels like a well composed epic, but rather drawing comparisons to a sample catalogue. There are no recurring melodies; nothing that will hook a listener in. Although Luke Jaeger is evidently trying to create a tongue-in-cheek caricature of instrumental tech death, it would have benefited the musical experience if there was something more to it.

Although the ideas are sporadic, they are often very similar. Sleep Terror's sound falls in between Malmsteen's school of shred metal, and an energetic slant of rhythmic metal that could be compared to Meshuggah or a slew of modern technical death metal bands. In short, the sound is something I have heard many times before. Where Sleep Terror works well however, is Luke Jaeger's performance itself. 'Probing Tranquillity' feels a little one-sided in its devotion to guitar, but that's where Luke's talent lies; in the guitar. He is able to solo in both the jazz and metal styles quite well, but as my impression of Sleep Terror indicates, there is more needed than musical skill to foster lasting enjoyment in an album.

Must For Any Music Fan - 100%

final318, December 1st, 2008

Unprecedented composition, jaw-dropping riffs, flawless execution. This album is an absolute must for any metal-savvy appreciator of fine and unrelenting craftsmanship, abounded with mind-boggling solos, punching breakdowns, and intriguing jazz interludes. Complex but careful arrangements wield an aural whirlwind of frenzied time changes juxtaposed against satisfying and epic suspense; brutality oozes from every second of this rare and essential release.

Sleep Terror's Probing Tranquility is a monumental study of genre redefining precision and creativity. The album amalgamates Atheist's diversity, Necrophagist's technicality, and Napalm Death's economy; truly a force of nature. Its 15 sub-3 minute songs pummel with enviable immensity relentlessly throwing listeners through a time warp of dumbfounding detail. Each short track retains frequent movement changes, which contrast tempo and signature, but simultaneously unleashes salivatingly memorable riffs. Blistering solos and eclectic segues consistently cut short unseeming licks but are soon replaced by even more chugging bottoms. Longing for particularly gripping jams is easily remedied, too, the album's total length of 30:29 easily lends to a second listen, or three, or four.

If you are of any multifarious musical disposition, find this release. As I write this review in tune to Probing Tranquility I am constantly being interrupted by brutal breakdowns which require physical expression. This album kills.

Probing Technicality - 79%

Robropnkr1, March 23rd, 2007

I wouldn't think that many people would truly enjoy this album. The endless onslaught of guitar riffs, electronic drumming, aggressively mindless technicality, and random parts that slightly resemble a jazzy feel. Not to say I don't enjoy this album, I actually think the composition is far from lacking and well worth more than a listen. I just believe that there are a few flaws with this album.

Jaeger, recognized more for his work in suicide culture (now Funeral Age) Is quite the excellent guitarist, to say the very least. The composition on this album is very close to flawless, and is done well enough to be humbly appreciated by any fan of technical death. But that's all that there is to it. Technicality. No emotion, no passion, no more-than-slightly creative ideas here. Just an endless onslaught of parts that will never repeat for more than a measure.

If you go for catchy music or anything like it, this album and this project are definitely not for you. After listening to Probing Tranquility for the first time, I realized that I couldn't remember a single piece of the album. Sure, the journey through the album was interesting and even worth a second listen, but the element of memorability is highly lacking in this piece of work.

All this is not to say that you shouldn't check this album out. In fact, I believe that all true metalheads should give Jaeger the benefit of the doubt and appreciate the guitar skill of this vegan straight-edger. Considering the album as a whole, It truly deserves a 79. It's far from perfect, and very far from agonizingly terrible to listen to.


Sleep Terror - Probing Tranquility - 82%

Daemonium_CC, October 30th, 2006

I got into these guys fairly recently, something like a month ago. I was looking for something creative, lots of time changes, and experimental. When I heard that Sleep Terror also has a lot of jazzy parts I was skeptical, even though I love jazz. Incorporating jazz segments into Metal tunes is not the easiest thing in the world to do, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re more than likely to fuck up and make yourself look like an ass.

Sleep Terror, however, has pulled it off. Very interesting compositions here, and Luke is all over the place in his arranging. Very out there, so to speak.

One reason I liked Sleep Terror so much is because Luke wasn’t afraid to take chances when making this record. He did what most musicians only dream of doing – make an album without holding back at all. He lets his chops fly on this record, and that is not a bad thing. Speedy jazz runs, devastating Metal riffs, and nice, fluid, memorable guitar solos.

The album features 15 songs, with the longest song “Somnambulist Pedophile” clocking it at 2:43. I don’t think that the songs need to be any longer in all honesty, as shorter songs capture and hold your attention better. Longer songs aren’t really needed here anyway, as each track is jam packed with goodness.

There are moments on this album that reach pure genius – like the blues solo ending to “Autoerotic Spy”, and the crushing riffing in “Tables Turned Crimson.” If the section after 1:31 does not get your head bobbing, then move onto another genre of music please.

Overall, this album is pretty outstanding, considering that it was made entirely by Luke Jaeger. Very impressive jazz runs, speedy and in clean tone. Outstanding riffs are scattered all over the place, and the reason it works so well is because Luke took the time to arrange them all properly and in a way that they always have your full attention, because you never know what to expect next. Constant changes and odd time signatures everywhere.

My only gripe about this album is the really crappy drum tone. It’s just not full enough, it needs a lot more body to it. But considering this was all recorded and programmed at home, a fine job was still accomplished, because although the drums can sound annoying at times, at least the drum patterns are interesting and fit the guitar work very nicely.

The clean tones for the jazzy parts are pretty weak. I know that Luke could do with some more decent gear. If those melodies were played through a Gibson Les Paul Custom through a Vox amp, then the results would be heavenly. I don’t know what he played the clean parts with, but if it was his Jackson, then I’m not surprised that it sounds like horses ass. The electric rhythm tone is not so bad. It sounds pretty old-school and I like that, and besides it’s perfectly fine for something that was recorded at home.

If this album had a real drummer, someone like, say, Flo Mounier, and a real bass player, then the universe could very well implode in itself from the awesome to be found on this disc. I’m also glad that there are no vocals – the music says everything you need to know.

If you’re looking for something different and experimental, then you could make a lot more worse choices than this. Fantastic from start to finish.