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1956 The Great Sleep

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1. Giving Away The Ending 2. A Lesson In Remembrance 3. American Grande 4. Either 5. For The Dolls With No Arms 6. While Eden Burns 7. Six Ways To Nothing
2002 Coptercrash Records
Our score 8

by Graham Landers
3/22/2003

Milwaukee, WI finally has a band to write home about. That act is the anti-ballad kings of eerie, 1956. 1956 play a cross between the cerebral sounds of Neurosis and accessible hardrock of Helmet or Queens of the Stone Age. The combination couldn't be any more welcomed than on "The Great Sleep," and believe you me, there won't be any dozing while this 7-song epic plays through its grandeur. As far as song structure goes, these guys have taken the Helmet sound and added a dose of sludge to the mix. The outcome is a wonderful blend of rock-tainted sludge bitterness. The best way to describe 1956 is foul in its purest form. From the music all the way down to the dismal packaging, this album is just about everything any Hydra Head or Escape Artist fan could ever want in a record. I swear that the opening riff of" A Lesson in Remembrance" is almost identical to the opening riff of Helmet's "Unsung" (after the bass part of course). They did succeed in making this their own by slowing down the pace and changing it ever so slightly. 1956 is somewhat comparable to Floor. The only major difference is the vocal delivery as 1956 is almost 100% clean vocals. There is some brief screaming near the finale of "The Great Sleep," but this is just as accessible to a rock fan as any sludge fan. I like 1956 a lot. The only down-side is the muddy production. I think these guys had their heads in the right spot when they recorded this and I know exactly what they were trying to achieve, it just didn't get captured as perfectly as they could've hoped. Also, it's apparent from the liner notes of this album that it was never mastered. It's really close to being tragic, but the band writes such good music that the songs all still rock hard. I can imagine this material must be quite enjoyable live. "A Lesson in Remembrance" is the first song after the instrumental opener, "Giving Away the Ending." This is far and away the album's gem.Its acoustic intro followed by the Helmet-esque sludge rock riffage is perfectly executed at all stages of musicianship. "American Grande" is equally as monolithic and feels like a sequel to its predecessor. Another minor note is that there is a considerable amount of dead air between songs on "The Great Sleep." I'm still not sure why they didn't do the standard three seconds between tracks, although I'm sure the absence of mastering played a major part in this blunder. Still, it doesn't hide the fact that 1956 are a rock machine. I just hope that next time around they go the whole nine yards, so to speak. Bottom Line: Not many bands have debuted as strongly as 1956. This band is going to make a significant impact in general. All they need is to hit a proper studio and they are as good as gold. I'm gong to have a close eye on these guys as I feel this is the band to look out for in 2003. With solid recording and packaging, I fully expect this band to go places. Give this record a shot.

Comments (1) post new comment
Joe Berringer_ 5/15/2006 8:26:40 AM

1956 was a horrible year, this also correlates with the bands quality