Sleepwulf – Sunbeams Curl

Sunbeams Curl Album Cover Art

Sleepwulf – Sunbeams Curl
Heavy Psych Sounds
Released on 18/02/22
Running Time: 35:49
Review by Dark Juan

Bonjour, mes petite enfants terribles! It is I, the mighty and puissant Satanic love machine that you know as Dark Juan, who, rather than his usual exuberant defiling of virgins and over the top displays of joie-de-vivre, is actually quite fatigued and is hunched double on the sofa at Dark Juan Terrace. 

No, I am not hunched over in a state of indiscretion. Filth. 

I have just had a rather… extraordinary duty period at work and I have the pleasure of a 72 hour one to look forward to before the end of the week and your favourite Satan-supporting metal hack writer is a bit tired. 120 hour working weeks will do that to people. Anyway, I did mention this to Chief Wrangler Beth “I Don’t Want Your Fucking Excuses, You’ve Had Sleepwulf Since February, I Want RESULTS, You Massive Shitbiscuit, Lest I Unleash The Spirit Of Owain Glyndwr On You And You Know What His Views About The English Were Because You Lived In Wales Once” Jones and she was sympathetic, where I was merely pathetic.

So, two months after release, I have finally pulled my fatigued finger out of my exhausted arse to tell you about “Sunbeams Curl”, the latest platter to be released by Swedish / Scottish Psychedelic Proto-occult Metallers Sleepwulf (to be fair, they are three quarters Swedish and a mere quarter Scottish) on the rather groovy Heavy Psych Sounds label. To paint a picture with words – Sleepwulf sound like they have access to a time machine and a secret studio stacked to the fucking gills with good old fashioned, valve driven analogue equipment, such is the organic and retro element to their sound. Granted, they are ploughing a furrow initially reopened by the likes of Wolfmother, but Sleepwulf are rather more interesting than the howling Australian hair pixie and his merry bunch of antipodean miscreants. How can you not be fascinating with song titles like ‘Toad Licker, Mushroom Picker’?

It is well known that Dark Juan is something of an enthusiast of all things acid-fuelled and Psychedelic – normally combining experiencing groovy albums with the assistance of psilocybe or some other reality bending replacement, but I have found today that crushing fatigue works nearly as well as a metric fuckton of LSD to alter perceptions of both music and your surroundings.

However, what’s left of Dark Juan’s cruelly abused nervous system was jolted into surprised life from the first note of album opener ‘Satan Is King’ because, well, he fucking is, isn’t he, and together my Dread Lord and I will bring down the false church and put all the fake priests and their sheep-like flocks to the sword and burn the word of God in colossal pyres of righteous, cleansing flame, demolishing the houses of all the false gods and preparing the way for the One Who Walks Backwards….

Sorry. ‘Satan Is King’ does not fuck about, a simple and short lead line leads into a riff of magnificent chunkiness and the mid-ranged tones of Owen Robertson (he is NOT Swedish) reach out to drag you into his universe. This state of immediacy is actually welcome, and makes a change from a lot of Psychedelic Rock and Metal, which normally wanders around the studio looking for the spliff its dropped for the first two to five minutes of an album before remembering why it is there and fucking GETTING ON with it. Second song ‘Green Man Dead’ immediately calls to mind the mighty Cream, but with a harder metallic edge – the groove-o-meter is already in the red. With Sleepwulf we are risking possibly catastrophic levels of grooviness. There is not a high enough Groove Quotient in the world. I’m not sure the universe as we know it can survive the whole album and it all might collapse into some form of ubergroovy, drug-fuelled, worldwide orgy of free love. 

It has to be said, I’m not against this idea and I would be delighted if Sleepwulf were the soundtrack because they are frankly a fucking good band. The guitar work of Sebastian Ihme is absolutely spellbinding – switching from Cream-like blues to snarling Metal and drifting Psychedelia with ease and fluidity. The bass player (Viktor Sjöström) is also a damned fine musician, his fuzzy, chunky bass anchoring the music beautifully – especially on ‘Sex Magic Manifestation’ where his prodigious bottom end follows the sinuous main riff closely and rumbles nicely along during the solo. Also, Dark Juan, being a practitioner, always appreciates songs about the occult and sex magic, doesn’t think there’s nearly enough of them and particularly enjoyed the line “A Garden Of Eden on the end of your tongue”. Yes, yes INDEED…

Things get really interesting on ‘Stoned Ape’ where the band go for a full spectrum epic Stoner and Hammond organ extravaganza. And then Sleepwulf really turn the tables on the listener who thinks that they may have a handle on the music on ‘Tyrant Song’ where they gleefully out-Tull Jethro Tull in a wholly exuberant and undeniably cheerful fashion. To say I am enjoying this album (I’m on my third back-to-back listen as I write this nonsense) is like saying the sea is fucking wet. It’s jolly splendid!

Production wise, on my first time round, I thought the sound was woolly and indistinct, but I was wrong. The mix is a very subtle thing, making the music sound more classic than it has any right to be. ‘Sunbeams Curl’ sounds just like it belongs in flares and a ratty denim jacket, in a field, tripping balls on LSD like they are a fucking MKULTRA / MKNAOMI test subject, circa 1972. And this, for the style of music being performed, is EXACTLY fucking right. A supremely clear and sterile, dare I say modern production would kill this album stone dead – instead there is an organic, all-encompassing warmth and LIFE to the sound and everything is actually perfectly audible, even the drums of Carl Lindberg, even though they are sat quite far back in the mix.

What are the downsides of this album then? Well, sometimes Owen Robinson’s vocal limitations make for some clipped attempts at phrasing and it feels like he doesn’t really let rip with his singing (he sounds supremely laid back) on the record. Live, I can easily imagine him turning into a demented whirling dervish. And that’s about it. The songwriting and musical arrangements are superb and the lyrics shot through with a wry humour and an overarching theme exploring the human condition.

Well worth splurging your hard-earned on, these guys. If you like classic, Bluesy Hard Rock or Psychedelic madness, or even a bit of Theatrical Prog, Sleepwulf will be right up your street. If you’re open to listening to other genres within Rock and Metal and you want a starting place to dip into the rainbow world of Stoner Rock and the genres I detailed previously then this is a fine place to start. Dip your toe in and be amazed.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade Dark Juan-systemet för blodstänk) officially gives everyone notice that Sleepwulf are on the shortlist of Dark Juan’s top ten releases of 2022 already. 10/10 for a fucking banging record.

01. Satan Is King
02. Green Man Dead
03. Sex Magic Manifestation
04. Stoned Ape
05. Man Under The Mountain
06. Tyrant Song
07. Toad Licker, Mushroom Picker
08. Bury Me Backwards

Viktor Sjöström – Bass
Carl Lindberg – Drums
Sebastian Ihme – Guitars
Owen Robertson – Vocals


Sleepwulf Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.


The Blood Republic Logo


Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with London, England based Grunge/Psychedelic Metal band, The Blood Republic. Huge thanks to multi-instrumentalist, Zak Muller, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Zak Muller, I am primarily a guitarist and singer, but I am also a multi-instrumentalist.

I started The Blood Republic in 2018 as a solo project, but with a band name, as I liked the vibe of the name. I released an album called ‘Into The Earth’ in 2019 and then after that I moved to New York and released a few stand-alone singles as my sound was slowly developing. I was in New York until the pandemic hit. That’s when I came back to the UK and started work on my upcoming album “Archonic”. ‘Unbound’ is the first single from the album!

How did you come up with your band name?

I had been trying to come up with a band name for this project for months. Every day I had been racking my brains, writing down literally hundreds of different ideas. The Blood Republic just came to me though. One morning it was just in my head when I woke up. It was really cool. I had that feeling when you’re like, yes, that’s the name! It was cool, but it also represented what I wanted to be doing musically and visually with the project!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m basically from London and the scene here is pretty great for Metal/Rock. The UK in general even has quite a few Metal/Rock bands in the charts at the moment.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

My latest release is a single called ‘Unbound’ which is the first song from my new album “Archonic” which is coming out this year. I’m releasing one song per month. Almost like an episode from a series.

‘Unbound’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

I take influences from many places. As a songwriter I’m inspired by artists like Nine Inch Nails, Alter Bridge and Chris Cornell. I love anything that is interesting and thought provoking but also melodic and catchy.

What first got you into music?

I first got into music as a drummer when I was very young. I loved rock music from a young age also, I didn’t know much about it. I just know how it made me feel when it came on the radio. It just made me feel cool! Haha

Then when I was about 11 years old, I started playing guitar and was immediately drawn to song writing. My dad bought me a small USB audio interface so I could record songs into the computer and that is pretty much where everything started for me. I get a lot of praise for my guitar abilities, but I have always identified myself more as a songwriter. That’s where my passion is.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

I would love to collaborate with Trent Reznor.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I have played some incredible festivals over my career so far. All with my previous band ‘Wild Lies’. So, if I was to play any of those festivals again. It would be Download Festival. I have played there 3 times and it’s going to be a dream come true to play there for a 4th time.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I couldn’t say that any gift I have received has been weird as it’s always so humbling to be given something from a fan. However, I was given a bracelet from a fan that told me it was the bracelet he was wearing when his daughter was born. It wasn’t weird though. I thought it was kind of beautiful!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you so much for supporting my journey and feeding my passion to create music for people to enjoy.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Chris Cornell

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love always having a mission. Like, there is never a moment where you have to feel bored because there is always something to do. Whether it’s writing a new song, tweaking a mix, making a music video, doing some social media marketing, making a t-shirt design. Being a musician nowadays is so exhilarating and it really develops you as a creative and an artist.

I suppose the thing that can be hard about being a musician is being honest with yourself when you are writing lyrics. Sometimes you can uncover feelings that you didn’t know were even there and suddenly they are staring you right in the eye.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

To be honest, I know it seems like most musicians hate the music industry today, but I’m honestly so grateful for it. The way the industry is today means that the band in their garage has just as much chance as the big players. Labels used to be the gate keepers of success and that’s just not so much the case now.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

The self-titled Audioslave album is a work of pure genius!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I grew up in the era of CD’s and I still love them. I loved the booklets, it’s a whole experience.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I’m not sure I can pin point one gig but the festival tour I did opening for Iron Maiden was pretty insane.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I would probably be an actor. I’m still interested in doing that as well as being a musician though.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Slash, Steven Tyler, Joe Rogan, Bill Burr and Lady Gaga!

What’s next for the band?

Releasing the new album and getting back on stage!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

A cake!! I don’t like them that much though! Haha.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for the interview! To anyone reading, go check out the new single on Spotify! A new music video is now also available on YouTube!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.