Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sleepy Hollow-Tales of Gods and Monsters

Pure Steel Records

It's been a long-time coming, but U.S. metal band Sleepy Hollow has finally made their return to the scene in a big way thanks to the recently-released "Tales of Gods and Monsters". With a run-time that is close to the fifty minute mark(!), "Tales of Gods and Monsters" serves as the proper follow-up to 2012's "Skull 13" and finds Sleepy Hollow all settled in with their new line-up. Back in early November of 2015 I covered this album's insanely-tight single, "Bound By Blood", and I made a comment to the effect of "If  Sleepy Hollow had to replace vocalist Bob Mitchell with a new lead vocalist then they made a great choice by going with Altar Of Dagon's Chapel Stormcrow". Not only am I sticking by the assertion that Chapel Stormcrow is a excellent choice for the band, but I am going to go one step future and say that Sleepy Hollow's new front-man is the only choice for this band going forward! As crazy as that might sound please hear me out folks. On "Tales of Gods and Monsters" we find Sleepy Hollow moving back and forth between traditional/power metal material and a more doom-laden take on power metal. Given Chapel Stormcrow's other job (he still fronts Altar Of Dagon which is a doom metal band) he fits Sleepy Hollow's new directional change to a T! Obviously the addition of new bass player Rich Fuester helps the new direction out as well (seeing as Rich is also a member of Altar Of Dagon), but if ever there was a case to be made for a classic metal band drastically changing things up and then staying on the new course then this is it! Yes, Bob Mitchell is a legendary lead singer and he will always be one of heavy metal's all time greats. No one can deny that including yours truly. But with that said, "Tales of Gods and Monsters" is a absolute BEAST of an album! Sleepy Hollow's new album is arguably the best release from this classic metal band to date and a lot of that has to do with Chapel Stormcrow's dramatic style of singing! As others have so reliably pointed out (up to and including the actual promo material that accompanied this 11-track album!), Chapel Stormcrow brings an almost Candlemass-like vibe to the overall mix. And when you combine his dramatic voice with the unmatched skills of guitarist Steve Stegg you end up with PURE MAGIC! Or to put it another way, "Tales of Gods and Monsters" is not only a nice fucking awesome(!) mash-up of classic/traditional heavy metal, eighties-infused U.S. power metal, and modern doom metal, but it's one of 2016's BEST albums to date! For the members of Sleepy Hollow (which also features new drummer Allan Smith) "Tales of Gods and Monsters" proves to be the perfect follow-up to "Skull 13". Not only that, but "Tales of Gods and Monsters" proves that it's possible to bounce back after major line-up changes and actually improve upon what was already a damn great thing! It doesn't matter if you are a long-time fan of Sleepy Hollow or if you are just discovering this classic band for the first time. Either way "Tales of Gods and Monsters" is must have and it is one of those gems that you will be returning to time and time again!

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