Sound — 10
2011's "Death Dealers" saw Adept add more melodic elements into their sound and 2013's "Silence the World" seen them leave the post-hardcore days behind entirely moving entirely into a melodic metalcore sound and this has been a major hit with fans and has been retained on "Sleepless." With soaring guitars, story telling-like vocals and pleasing melodies the now more mature sound of the bands instrument players compliment the vocals so much more effectively than before. Something about the early albums like "Another Year of Disaster" and "Death Dealers" just seems a bit childish musically when compared to the newer two albums "Silence the World" and "Sleepless." While Adept have always written about personal things whether it be love, remembrance or similar topics the accompanying music seems to be kinda immature compared to now though still very good and suits the earlier style of the band better. The guitar duo of Jerry Repo and Gustav Lithammer work together as if they have been playing together forever throwing melodies between themselves and harmonies to back each other up or even simply backing off to the classic metalcore palm muted pounding rhythms all while bassist Filip Brandelius and drummer Gabriel Hellmark keep them grounded and in check.
"Sleepless" was originally scheduled to be released in mid 2015 but due to a disagreement between the band and their record label (Panic & Action) Adept ended up having to re-record the entire album and eventually also re-signed with a new record label (Napalm Records) this pushed the release back to February 2016 and was well worth the wait. While still signed with the previous label Adept released the lead single "Dark Clouds" which was released again after re-recording and signing to Napalm Records. Having listened to both it feels that although this whole dispute between labels was a pain in the neck that it was actually a blessing in disguise. Napalm Records version of "Dark Clouds" packs more punch, everything can be heard more clearly and most noticeably the way Ljung sings the song is full of more feeling and is more on point. This may have been due to the original being recorded under stress and the new version recorded in a more relaxed environment but as "Dark Clouds" was the only song heard from both recording sessions we cant say much on the topic.
Lyrics — 10
Though the band are born and bred from Sweden singer Robert Ljung is fluent in English and sings in English. On songs like "Dark Clouds" and "Black Veins" this is heard very clearly and sounds as if English is Robert's 1st language. His ability to switch seamlessly from his wide range of clean melodic vocals to the aggressive screams and growls heard on the likes of "Down & Out" and "The Sickness" and the gritty in between from the bridge of "Dark Clouds" means that Ljung can convey every emotion in his lyrics. This is a talent he has honed in and perfected over the years and today Ljung does not shy away with his voice. It is clear from the way he sings that the majority of the lyrics, especially those from the two singles "Dark Clouds" and "Carry the Weight," are his own and very personal to him.
Adept are known for writing ballads. "Dark Clouds" talks about a person under so much stress and dealing with too many problems that they attempt suicide with another person (presumably singer Robert Ljung) trying to help them and stop them from doing so as he cares about them. "Carry the Weight" is about pushing boundaries and moving forward in their career and leaving a legacy behind hopefully inspiring future generations. Of course in this style of music it is not uncommon for songs about love to shine through and Adept are no strangers to this with the prime example being their classic "Give Me Back My Dreams, You Negligent Whore." "Wounds" paints a picture of a couple drifting apart and eventually separating from each other but that they still have a place in each others hearts and with Ljung's clean vocals in the chorus the feelings in this song are very clear that this is very personal to Robert himself.
I find it hard to pick holes in this album which oddly enough is something I am not used to. Being a sound engineer and record producer I am always listening to music and thinking of things to add or change which would improve the songs but with this album I am having difficulty doing this which oddly enough I find is ever so slightly putting me off. Unlike most bands these days Adept have done this album entirely themselves and don't even have any tracks where a guest singer is featured. The only thing that stands out is the use of some synths and effects to add some atmosphere which Adept have done previously.
As mentioned earlier now that the band are more grown up and are experienced in the life of professional musicians and have found their sound the instrumentation now fits a lot more appropriately and the overall tone of the music is more full. The older albums feel like the music is the focus of the songs and the lyrics are there to fill it out whereas now the music is complimenting the lyrics and Ljung's very personal lyrics are the focus of the songs which really does make the difference between a nice song to listen to and a piece of art.
I need to rate this section a 10 as for the first time listening to these guys I cant pick any holes in their music. Having only discovered them as the previous album ("Silence the World," 2011) came out I have listened to the discography and can pick holes in almost every song or think of ways where it could be better but this time around I just can't and as I have mentioned too it just feels so grown up compared to the previous albums.
Overall Impression — 10
Adept have clearly came a long way since they started out. If "Sleepless" is the first instance you are hearing of Adept I urge you to go back and dwell YouTube and listen to songs from older albums especially their first album "Another Year of Disaster" and their EP's like "When the Sun Gave Up the Sky" and just listen to difference not only in production quality and sonic quality but in the maturity of the musicians and the overall songwriting and you will understand where I am coming from in this review.
I keep coming back to the same songs but the lead single "Dark Clouds" has so powerful lyrics and is complimented so well by the backline and drums and the same goes for "Carry the Weight." When vocalists put so much heart and soul into their music it really does stand out above other songs where the lyrics are written by one person and sang by another. If you listen to the opening track "Black Veins" Ljung talks about how people say he does not talk about himself and his feelings often and that the following songs are him speaking out about all that and after listening through to the closing track "Sleepless" Robert has stayed true to his message. "Sleepless" is sang in the same sort of style as "Black Veins" that there is an opening narration and it builds up into a musical piece. "Sleepless" stands out and sounds as if it is a confession of Ljung being depressed and missing his family. I hope for the sake of everyone associated with Adept that this is not the case as it is an unfortunate thing to deal with but musically, with the instrumentation of this song it stands out even above the two singles so far as a very personal piece.
Personally my favourite genre is metalcore with melodic death metal being not far behind. Adept bridge the gap between the two and have a unique sound and are moving in the right direction with it. With that being said sometimes you wonder if they are trying too hard and aiming too high but if you don't aim high you are not going to get anywhere and Adept are definitely aiming high. I wish the guys the best of luck and hope to see make their way to Scotland (my location) sometime soon.