Two years ago, the Italian Bedsore already made big waves in the European Metal underground with their self-titled demo. But what the band delivers now on their debut album Hypnagogic Hallucinations probably could fascinate even die-hard followers of the scene. With their almost inimitable Progressive Death Metal, the band has surely released one of the most interesting records the genre had to offer in 2020. If you like bands like Nocturnus or Atheist and also take your hat off to the unique old Deep Purple or Uriah Heep stuff, you must have heard this longplayer, no doubt about that!
The trio from the heated south of Europe is made up of members of the band SVNTH, which is certainly a household name to some. Therefore it is not surprising that Hypnagogic Hallucinations, despite its debut status, is of excellent quality, seems already very mature and shows the musicians’ talent to its fullest.
The Italians directly welcome the listener on Hypnagogic Hallucinations with a prog-laden intro, which inevitably reminds of virtuous 70’s bands of the Rock genre and thus would also make a good soundtrack for an 80’s horror movie. An introduction that should get you in the right mood for the upcoming ride and lets these progressive elements merge with the morbid initial Tech-Death Metal of the 90s. Above all, the synthesizer parts invite you to dream, while the intro or other catchy melody is revealed. The sound worlds, the artistic influences of different decades build up bit by bit and seem well thought out without stagnating in annoying overload. Already after a short excursion into the album it becomes clear that very talented musicians are at work here, who know exactly where to go. Especially within the respective songs, the sound compositions are rigorous and are characterized by well-timed tempo changes, which can create a seamless transitions between the different parts.
Even though the balance between Prog-Rock/Jazz and Death Metal is well-balanced, the focus is always shifting, so that the tracks sometimes are dominated by one or the other part. Especially the Extreme Metal part gets stuck and shows its best side. While the guitars are often very similar melodically, just like the synthesizer, Bedsore also let sawing or even rancid sounds shine through, which are an excellent contrast to the otherwise quite jazzy way of playing. However, in my opinion there is still a little bit of air up in the metal riffings, because they fall a bit under the table in direct comparison to the several melodies. Nevertheless, after listening to them several times, you will like the guitars, which have just the right level of bluntness to not break too much with the brilliant foundation. So the 6-string also contributes to the dense atmosphere with partly snotty Death Metal, which unfolds from song to song.
The drumming follows the same path and looks super tight. While a comparison with jazz is obvious during the quieter parts, the drums in the metal passages effortlessly manage to push the sound forward. Especially when the few blastbeats are ignited, Hypnagogic Hallucinations really takes off and in combination with the setting even sounds like Black Metal, which is a good match for the album and underlines the band’s complexity. Especially the above mentioned transitions play an important role here, because as already mentioned they are seamlessly crossing the stage and thus fit together like one piece of a puzzle. At the slower parts the drums are much less in focus, but they don’t remain in complete silence and manage to let boredom completely fizzle out. The alternation of raw beating and gentle strokes therefore works out and is for me personally one of Bedsore’s greatest strengths on this album.
Although I also really like the vocals, because the scratchy roar reminds me of good old Morbus Chron records, there might be some more variation in the future, because the catchy vocals have a clear line and therefore, considering the versatile instrumentals, are a bit weak. Maybe a chorus or the use of subtle clean vocals would have brought a little more variety into the game to further strengthen the level of musical complexity. But still, most listeners will probably enjoy the vocals, because they don’t carry too much weight compared to the endless melodies.
Due to a really massive production, that is clear and expressive in any case, which suits the sound very well, Bedsore takes us into distant worlds of sound with their atmosphere on Hypnagogic Hallucinationseasily, which we want to surrender to again and again, because many “secrets” can only be discovered after several runs. At the same time, this is of course also a predicate for intelligent songwriting, which may not yet be at 100%, but for a debut album it is definitely top-notch. If the trio manages to make the album as a whole as captivating as the respective songs, Bedsore will be able to hold the spearhead of modern Prog-Death Metal bands in the long run, which I personally have no doubt about, considering the current quality.
On July 24th this year Hypnagogic Hallucinations was released on the highly respected American label 20 Buck Spin, where you can get the sensational vinyl version as well as tape and CD. Even I was driven by this musical masterpiece to at least once look beyond the high shipping costs from overseas and to already strike at the pre-order, which I still don’t regret until today, although I’m rather listening to the digital version by now, as the album has turned out to be an absolute long runner for me.
If you have hyped off the Sweven – The Eternal Resonance album this year, but found the Metal part of it too limited, you will never get tired of Hypnagogic Hallucinations. In Bedsore, everything interlocks and no matter if it’s the Death Metal parts or the musically high-quality atmospheric passages, this album is a true masterpiece in terms of prog and extreme metal combination. An absolute must for everyone who needs innovative Death Metal and a change from the otherwise dull rumble!
“At The Mountains Of Madness”
“Brains On The Tarmac”