Grunge rock is a puddle of stagnant, rainwater right now. The storm is over but the water has yet to evaporate. The cycle is only half-complete. The ‘90s saw bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Sound Garden showered grunge onto the mainstream, and now we are witnessing the aftermath: Seether, Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, 3 Doors Down, Nickleback, etc.
Soon the genre, like the puddle, will be gone. It could make a return; punk is experiencing a rebirth, and either grunge or hardcore (think: Minor Threat) could be next up. But a grunge revival—if it does happen—is at least a decade away. The teenagers that make up the Tennessee-based grunge band Sleeping Seasons will likely have widely different musical tastes by then. For now: the puddle.
Heaven Shrink is an amalgamation of heavy guitar chording, occasional riffing and surface-level lyrical themes—familiar tropes of the past ten-year’s worth of alternative rock. There are areas where the band tries to pull from other resources but the results are a mixed bag.
They tip their hand on the fifth track, “Lost in Space.” The six-minute burner borrows its opening from Blink-182 and Brand New (see: “Asthenia” and “Welcome to Bangkok”); the remainder of the song lacks restraint, a crescendo and a climax. And this exposes a larger concern plaguing the Heaven Shrink EP: Sleeping Seasons is not building upon any contemporary scene of music and that’s a dicey proposition given the current state of the music industry.
Overall, Sleeping Seasons—like a puddle—is in a tough spot right now. Their debut EP has some fun moments that show potential for this young group: The drumming at the beginning of “Mercury” is a unique prelude to the up-tempo guitar riffing that follows, and the song, overall, stands out for its aggressive cadence. The same can be said of the bass line that introduces listeners to “New Old Friend:” it not only shows potential, but also is refreshing. These glimpses, though, are little more than drops in the puddle for anyone who isn’t a die-hard grunge enthusiast.
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