Review 856 : Zornheym – The Zornheim Sleep Experiment – English

Zornheym’s asylum is open again.

Created in 2014 in Sweden by Zorn (guitar/bass, Aktiv Dödshjälp, ex-Dark Funeral, ex-Devian), he quickly recruits Scucca (guitar/vocals, Encrowned) and Bendler (vocals) as well as a drummer to complete their first album, released in 2017. After several shows through Europe with Steve Pygmalion (drums, Ghostkid), the band officially hires him and they together compose The Zornheim Sleep Experiment, their second album.

Accompanied as on the previous album by The Zornheym String Quartet, an ensemble of violins and cellos, as well by their Chorus Tenebris, a choir of renown vocalists, the band tells us the experimentations of doctors Bettelheim and Gutzmann. An universe between reality and fantasy.
The album begins with Corpus Vile, a seizing, dark and majestic composition that melts the band’s different extreme influences while introducing the experiment between howlings and clean vocals. Heady leads keep us out of breath while choirs and orchestrations oppress us, then the band allows us to catch our breath again on the mystérious An Evil Within, which is an introduction to the violent Dead Silence, a composition that drowns us into blackness. We notice several characters happen on samples or even on vocals, fueling this musical contrast supported by incredibly powerful drums and a solid rhythmic. The sound fades away to give birth to Keep the Devil Away, the song they chose to introduce the album. The different voices continue to tell us their story under this majestic rhythm part, whether it is on melodies, orchestrations or raw strength. Even it some parts drop gloss over saturated sound, they do not decrease intensity, like on the warlike Slumber Comes In Time. The song is haunting, creating a heady rhythmic on which vocals and harmonics permanently mesmerize us, then Black Nine unveils disturbing joyful tones. The song becomes more and more worrying, mainly thanks to this orchestral break, but the invasive blackness is addictive, and the break provoked by The Veiling Of Bettelheims Eye frustrates us as much as it fascinates us. The progression continues until The Revelation, a composition that permanently increases intensity. Those unhealthy backing vocals are more and more present, constantly repeating the same thing. “Stay away. Stay away”. The instrumental part comes to offer some respite before leaving us over Keep Cutting, a track on which we feel all the sadness and the brutality of the musicians’ dark art, as well as their concept. The contrast literally grabs us by the throat, slowly unveiling the horror of the experience, that will end with The Madness That Lurks Within (Epilogue). The noises you will hear, supported by a worrying orchestration, will for sure haunt you.

Once again, Zornheym does not release a simple masterful album. The Zornheim Sleep Experiment is not only a compendium of powerful, seizing and majestic songs, it’s a full story that will make you enter madness, sink into blackness and live the terror.


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