If you’re wanting something progressive metal wise that has some atmospheric punch about its ways, then you might want to get your head around Sacramento based band Sages who are looking to show of their experimentation as well as their technical prowess with their latest record ‘Sleepwalker’.
Opening up with the poignant track ‘What The Hell’, it gives you an immediate insight into what to expect from the band. The tremolo picking of the guitars during the choruses behind the open chord elements mixed with the vocal harmonies make this such a pleasant album opener for the group. It can get a bit hypnotising at some points with the softer elements of the track that help accentuate the vocal key when he really forces his tone out. As it moves into the next few tracks, the lead guitar gets a bit more time to shine with the opening guitar licks provided by ‘With You’ which invokes a bit more spacial element in the sound of its lead guitar. The choruses of this band are where they excel as they sound so full of life and flavour, but they also use a bit of electronic/programming in some of the tracks to make it feel that much more special such as in the song ‘Come With Me’ that uses some orchestral section in the intro and what sounds like a toy box sound during parts of the verses which gives it their own characteristic.
As well as this, the band are definitely living up to their progressive metal nature. With the djent punches of the title track amongst a cleaner and more reverb centric guitar lead, the band show how they can fit into parts of the genre that seem to be very ‘paint by numbers’ with that guitar technique. What really makes this band shine is their much more anthem-like production within the longer tracks like ‘Save Yourself’ and ‘Wasting Away’ that are able to help hold your attention for longer, as well as their abilities to switch up the tracks slightly as to not get stale over time and give you another chance to be mesmerised by what they have been able to achieve. It puts this release up their with bands such as TesseracT and Periphery with their more awareness on how to take in many encompassing sounds and make the album as a whole work superbly. A highlight of the record is the ever so groovy ‘Up To The Sky’ that showcases more of the vocalists screams and, whilst it can feel quite minimalist in its approach, separates the record quite nicely.
This record is a surefire way to show you what the upcoming progressive rock and metal scene is doing and a very good showcase of when a band does it to a superb scale. If you haven’t heard of Sages before, now is the time to start listening!