From the first few measures of Cast Out, Dallas-based hardcore quintet Sleep Now establishes its raw, in-your-face M.O. “Hate Bitten” packs aggressive shouts, buzz-saw riffs and a touch of ambient melody into a two-minute stretch. From there, the record speeds by at a breathless clip, as Sleep Now delivers its message of brokenness and redemption with equal parts vitriol and grace. On the first single, “Choke,” frontman Jesse Rocha’s wrenching, self-flagellating lyrics (“I’ve rejected purity / Placed blame on humanity / Became my own cancer”) are sure to resonant with many listeners.
But the band hammers home the presence of God’s mercy in passages like the aching outro to the standout track, “Cast Out.” (“You’ve got to learn to lean on your faith / The only truth, the only way / The only life that won’t fade away.”) You can almost feel the surge of the mosh pit on Cast Out, which recalls Gideon with its use of impassioned gang vocals. Drummer Trevor Adams’ technical, driving beats are a highlight of the record, and the guitar work — while fairly no-frills — is brutally effective.
While some of the tracks could’ve benefited from extended running times to allow Sleep Now to further explore their creativity, Cast Out is still a compelling, spirit-filled hardcore release.