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I have a love-hate relationship with the Finnish metal scene. Arguably nowhere in the world is metal more popular. The country even counts a headbanger throwing double devil horns as one of its official emojis. While Finland has produced some of my favorite bands. On the other hand, the Finnish scene as a whole has never done that much for me. Funeral Doom? Not for me. Beherit? Not so much. Even Amorphis leaves me hot-and-cold.

That's where Sleep of Monsters come in. If, like me, you find recent Amorphis albums to be a bit too glossy for your palate, then their upcoming album II: Poison Garden might scratch that dramatic and expressive metallic rock itch. Their guitar tones owe more to stoner rock than their aforementioned peers, and they add a three-piece backing vocal section to give the proceedings a little Afghan Whigs/later Nick Cave flourish, as evidenced by the ebullient chorus to "Art of Passau." Rarely have I ever heard Gothic music sound so jubilant.

If that voice sounds familiar to you, it may be because it's Ike Vil of sadly defunct Finnish deathrock band Babylon Whores. Scab Casserole has written about Vil's work with that band at length on this site, and I recommend you give his pieces a read.

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II: Poison Garden will be released on June 3 via Svart Records. Follow Sleep of Monsters on Facebook.

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