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Sleestak

The Fall of Altrusia

Aug. 2, 2011
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Billing themselves as “Wisconsin's Doom Disciples,” the four members of Milwaukee's Sleestak—featuring former members of Sixinch, Atomic Number 9 and Planet Delirium—trudge through the sludge on their second album, The Fall of Altrusia. This concept disc, with “chapters” instead of “tracks,” is based on the mid-1970s television series “Land of the Lost” (the band's name comes from the show, too).

Among the highlights of this slab of epic metal influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Cathedral and even Rush: “Chapter 2-Exiled From the City,” which begins as one of the album's bleakest songs before segueing into a somber yet redemptive acoustic workout, and “Chapter 6-The Marshall Prophecy,” which at times possesses a giddiness lacking throughout the rest of the album.

Fortunately, vocalist Matt Schmitz spends way more time playing guitar and organ than singing. His raw death-metal growls and unintelligible lyrics belie the band's rich and complex musical creativity. Droning, apocalyptic rumbles and slow, dense power chords will make listeners' stomachs clench with an undeniable sense of impending doom.

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