Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate - Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate

Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate - Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate

(CD/LP, Prophecy, 2019)

Usually, I am a bit skeptical when I’m about to drop the needle on a split release, and the reason is because after the first listening sessions, I’m left kind of unsatisfied wanting to hear more from both bands / artists. In the case of SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS though, I felt I had to make an exception, simply because the name of Schwadorf (of the EMPYRIUM, THE VISION BLEAK and the NOEKK fame) lit all the bulbs on my emotional blackboard, as this fine gentleman possess a unique way to push my Folk / Doom / romantic Metal (yup, I just said that) buttons and therefore pique my interest. Add to this that this split release comes with 9 tracks, making the entire effort feel like a full length treat, and you’ve got yourself a deal.

The “Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate” split opens with “Wovon Wölfe Träumen”, the first of the five tracks served by the poetic hand of Schwadorf that totally serves its purpose as an interlude, lifting just enough the curtain for us to peek what’s coming. And this is ‘Romance at night 101’ straight from his Black Metal cosmos delivering appeasing Neofolk passages with mysterious clean vocalisms that meet gloomy Gothic Metal supported by tons of melancholic yet hypnotic guitars. The way this track fades out into the 8-minute “The Lure Of Nyght” is pure magic, giving the impression that we’re actually dealing with one long in duration track that could lead you straight into a clearing in the middle of the most dense, ebony forest. Of course, I wasn’t expecting something less than pure haunting atmosphere crafted by Schwadorf’s majestic hand simply because his 20+ years of service in the underground Metal circles has proved that he’s a true master when it comes to combining layers upon layers of atmospheric tunes, scattered fast-paced Black Metal eruptions characterized by truculent blastbeats and throaty vocals. “Fall Of The Lonesome” turns out to be another interlude having Schwadorf pronouncing some late Romantic, fading grey-laden poetry, being the calm before the storm of “To The Moon On Summer Eves” with the THE VISION BLEAK-esque tune, bringing to mind the 2007’s “The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey”. And as it happens with theatrical plays, the echo that “Kristall” leaves to your ears, before passing the baton to CAVERNOUS GATE’s Doom / Death universe, feels like a bittersweet goodbye with the intense melancholic, echo-y character of the eerie melodies created by some hammered dulcimer instrument – just awesome!

HELRUNAR co-founder and drummer S.K. serves us four atmospheric, dark Metal tracks with “Seclusion” starting off ‘Act II’ as a prologue, with ghostly keyboards or dungeon synth, as he describes this in the press release. “Those Who Walk The Fog” is a heavy yet nostalgic track in the vein of early ULVER / KATATONIA, while the growling vocals boldly step on Funeral Doom / blackened Death Metal territories. Without feeling too strange or detached, CAVERNOUS GATE manage to carry the melancholic torch with more aggressive and that’s the success of this release. Sure, its sound is a bit more electronic-paced in a way, but it doesn’t feel that we’ve changed a book – we just turned the page (or vinyl record side, hint, hint). The main guitar melody in “Amongst Decayed Grass” is quite addictive and catchy, and I found myself humming the main melody for days, so aside from the overall haunting character of the track this literally “haunt” me. Even though Funeral Doom is not my cuppa, S.K. delivers the goods in a way that are appealing even to me; the unsettling keyboards and the slow riff sticks inside you from the very beginning, while the growling vocals make you sense that something is lurking in the shadows. No kidding. Blackened Death never sounded so funereal and interestingly twisted, so kudos for that. And the moment you’ll feel you’ve had enough, “A Pale Shimmer In The Dark” comes closer to Schwadorf’s arrangements and aesthetics, closing the whole venture with fine quality atmosphere and finesse.

In an effort to revisit and reproduce some of the melancholy of the spirit of Romanticism, SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS and CAVERNOUS GATE joined their forces drawn inspiration from an era that for many is considered as naïve or even sad. The result is a high quality release with ambient, soulful moments that you shall revisit again and again. Still, I really can’t tell if this split is a hands-down important piece for your collection, but isn’t it intriguing? Absolutely!






01. SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS - Wovon Wölfe Träumen
02. SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS - The Lure Of Nyght
03. SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS - Fall Of The Lonesome
04. SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS - To The Moon On Summer Eves
06. CAVERNOUS GATE - Seclusion
07. CAVERNOUS GATE - Those Who Walk The Fog
08. CAVERNOUS GATE - Amongst Decayed Grass
09. CAVERNOUS GATE - A Pale Shimmer In The Dark


Schwadorf - All instruments

S.K. - All instruments