Black Sleep are one of the most interesting new bands that I've heard in years. Why I say that, is because they've mixed together two styles of music that you just wouldn't think would ever worked. Quite simply, this EP sounds like Arcturus if they had a run-in with the groove metal of Fear Factory. You can obviously hear both influences in the music, and it's admittedly very odd – but oddly catchy as well. They're a four-piece from out of Finland, and this is obviously their debut release even though it's short enough to be placed in with our demos and EP's over at New Noise. Comically, I'm also seeing several other review blogs mentioning the band as Black Sheep, which I also thought was their name until I really took a look at it. The frontman has a very similar tone to Garm, which I thought was very unexpected, especially from a Finnish act where that sort of Norwegian influence would have to be a learned one. But even if the guy did stay up all night trying to imitate Garm's performance on records like The Sham Mirrors, I can certainly say that he's done it justice. “Tiny Pieces” gives a heavy dose of chunk and synth, but paired with that unusual vocal approach, it comes out as something altogether different. But that's just the icing on the cake compared to “Soulcatcher” which is definitely one of the best cuts on the release. This is where more of the slightly operatic avantgarde elements come into play, along with the clean chorus, which reminds me of Burton C. Bell a little bit. Now there's obviously some angry grunts used here along with the new metal crunch, but it's definitely a change in styles that I can get into. Another one I liked was “Moonsick” for the same reasons, which would be a strong clean vocal and symphonic element. The disc's closer “Animal Puppets” also stands out, ending the record on a promising note. Again, there is definitely an avantgarde sense to Black Sleep and I think that it's strong enough here to get your attention over the more groove-oriented and nu-metal elements laden within. But I also really enjoy these sections, so the band works as a solid whole for me. But with as many intriguing pieces as The Whales Of The Grey Sea contains, it still feels like a good first step that needs further exploration and evolution. I really hope that such an uncanny act continues to make music like this, as it's something very fresh that we truly need in the metal scene today. I really hope that these guys continue, because they're one of the few acts that actually caught my attention out of the hundreds I receive on a weekly basis.
(6 Tracks, 32:00)