Review: Sleepbomb – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Koolarrow Records
Street 10.13
Sleepbomb= Bell Witch+ The Keening

Sleepbomb has released a new album with Koolarrow Records that perfectly resembles the art of creating illustrative sound. The members perform a great ensemble of psychedelic doom with their latest album The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Sleepbomb creates film scores which are compositions that are specifically for films. Based in San Francisco, California, Sleepbomb has acquired a certain style when it comes to their unique sound. Darkness, misery, grief and sorrow seem to be some words that can describe the compositions of their choosing. Their inspiration comes from films like Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Conan the Barbarian

The album really encapsulates the dark ambiance of the movie ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ (1920), which Sleepbomb was able to illustrate with their own unique sound. The dynamic duality of Tim Gotch and Claire Hamard’s vocals creates a melancholy tone which is notably accompanied by Charles Hernandezs vocals and heavy guitar riffs, as well as Robert Johnson‘s vigorous percussion. The production by Brown Hues amplifies their dissonant sound for all of us to enjoy. 

The songs are assembled in acts and start off with an intro. Act 1 starts off with some ominous chanting by Hamard that seems to try to entice the audience into a trance. As continuous guitar strumming ensues, the keyboard provides a bright and uplifting sound that provides a sort of luminous imagery—Until the guitar and rhythm get heavier with each strum. Percussion is introduced three minutes into the song, bringing the whole sound together. I can only prepare for the impending doom that is forsaking me. This song goes hard and sets the tone for how the rest of the album would feel, moments of clarity and dissonance. 

Out of the many songs in this album, I would like to highlight Act 3. The tempo of this song is gradual—the disembodied vocals provide a nostalgic feel that is intensified by the unbroken drum beats. The vocals and instrumentals are until they are interrupted by an abrupt fade out, quickly fading back in with a chaotic movement of instruments. This was surprising but a great way to end the number. 

The last song on the album follows what the film entails: new revelations, ideations, and overall questions left unanswered. The electrifying crescendo of this tune is the pinnacle moment of realization that this ballad is almost at its end. The keyboard has a persuasive melody that is harmonious but somber.  This last song provides such strong feelings and imagery.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) directed by Robert Wiene, is an interesting silent film to think about while listening to this film score. It ties in so well with the gloomy sorrowful moments of the film. The film has themes of violence, tyranny, arrogance, and madness. This album conveys these themes in sounds that speak louder than words. Sleepbomb does a powerful cinematic sound performance for this film which is felt through their own various stages on their latest album. 

This album has been really dark with such heavy riffs—it is a great listen for those who are into doom metal and anything heavy, really. Sleepbomb has produced a delightful ensemble of film scores that introduce a new twist of psychedelic doom and heavy metal. Their music is carefully orchestrated by people who are purely motivated by the sounds of darkness and sorrow. To check out more of their melancholy music, check them out on all streaming platforms and follow them on Instagram at @sleepbombsf for any future events and music. –Litzi Estrada 

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