For as much of an effort has been made in the past to pigeonhole Night Verses within the post-hardcore scene, not much has come from it. Like the spiritual successors to The Fall Of Troy that they’ve frequently been, any post-hardcore tendencies have been greatly overshadowed by progressive influences that betray a band desperate to create paths into a completely different habitat. And with the departure of vocalist Douglas Robinson and their debut EP as a trio Copper Wasp making a hard turn into instrumental prog-metal, to see where Night Verses would go from here – not to mention how far they’d go – was always going to be an interesting experience.
And indeed, From The Gallery Of Sleep is certainly an interesting experience, an hour-long odyssey into Night Verses’ interpretation of the sound of dreams, spanning numerous tones and styles and littered with vocal samples for an even greater sense of uncanniness. And as is to be expected, such a hefty departure from the (former) norm leaves Night Verses slightly out of their depth; with all the Copper Wasp tracks featuring here, this is ostensibly their first go at something to this extent, and with a track like Phoenix IV: Levitation taking up almost ten minutes of the runtime on its own, it can off course from the most efficient overall outcome.
That’s not exactly a surprise though, especially when Night Verses are pursuing something as ambitious as From The Gallery Of Sleep is, and the fact that the majority is as good as it is is commendable in itself. For one, it can actually deliver in a way that most concept-driven instrumental albums can’t in its exploration of dreams, covering all bases from lucid, liquid tranquility of Glitch In The You I Thought I Knew to the crushing discord of Vice Wave and No.0, complete with disembodied voices coming out of the ether as a vehicle for themes of the oblique and the manufactured that’s never really explained in great detail, but that’s part of what makes it compelling. Of course, there’s plenty of that in the instrumentation itself too, where Night Verses’ reputation of technical, complex craftsmanship continues to be lived up to, with Nick DePirro giving a djent-inspired sharpness to the guitars, and Aric Improta’s ever-phenomenal drumming stealing the show as the album’s serpentine, avalanching backbone.
Put it all together and From The Gallery Of Sleep becomes an impressively sprawling and imposing listen, hitting a spot of intrigue that instrumental albums rarely do. That’s not consistently the case and it does drop the album down a bit, but in terms of sheer technicality and sharpness, Night Verses provide an increasingly tantalizing glimpse of what’s possible for them in the future. This is far too fascinating to be passed up on to any degree.
For fans of: Animals As Leaders, The Fall Of Troy, The Chariot
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘From The Gallery Of Sleep’ by Night Verses is out now on Equal Vision Records.