Arctic Sleep’s Thundering New Post-Metal Album Offers Peace With The Great Unknown

Arctic Sleep’s powerful new album Kindred Spirits thunders out into a captivating musical journey of extremes packed into the release’s layout itself. The very first track feels incredibly physically intense, like a hammer beating down over and over, but by the end of the album, Arctic Sleep have descended into an engaging but ambient track that feels like a musical approximation of a field recording taken at nightfall. The cohesive new Arctic Sleep album takes a remarkably varied and ultimately almost irresistible journey to get from one of those poles to the other, twisting through ups and downs with the confidence required for the album’s feeling of delivering a peace with the “great unknown.” The music packs huge swells that easily feel connected to the huge swells of nature at large and our individual lives — but these swells don’t have to be run from.

The album packs a sense of a wise, experienced figure stepping down from a cosmic getaway and sharing insight into the course of our lives here and the lives of our society and planet at large. Although offered in the midst of broad sonic flourishes, this insight and the music it’s packed in are personal-feeling. There’s variety in the music and it has personality. It tells a story of being trapped on some metaphorical high seas and doesn’t just unleash a tidal wave and walk away. Despite the intensity, the music feels controlled and careful and never overwhelming — this album is like an ocean that you can feel free to dive into.

Kindred Spirits incorporates a number of successful heavy music styles into its own unique and ultimately beautiful creation. The record proceeds from raw metallic intensity into smoother, sprawling post-rock structures with clean vocals that feel drawn from a classically powerful doom metal band running through the mix alongside still more elements, like a surge of dour acoustics towards the end. There are a couple of tracks around the middle of the record that are entirely instrumental, together spanning a range from textured atmosphere into a full-on sonic avalanche — and even in this moment, the broader picture of peace with powerful chaos clearly emerges.

5/5 Stars

Pre-order the new album at this link and listen to some previous Arctic Sleep material below.