Markus Stock (aka Schwadorf) is best known as the creative force behind two prominent groups in the stable of Prophecy Productions, Empyrium and The Vision Bleak, as well as the band Ewigheim. But as long ago as 1998 he also began work on a solo project known as Sun of the Sleepless.
Schwadorf’s releases under that name have been sporadic — two EPs in 1999 and 2000, a 7” released in 2000 named Tausend Kalte Winter (which featured a trip-hop cover of Darkthrone’s “En As I Dype Skogen”), and a 2004 split with Nachtmahr. But now, almost two decades after the project began, Sun of the Sleepless will at last release a debut album through the same Prophecy Productions. Entitled To the Elements and featuring poetic lyrics inspired by great romantic writers across the ages, it’s set to arrive on July 21.
One fine track from the album (“Motions“) has premiered at Invisible Oranges, and now we bring you another one, a song named “The Owl“.
Schwadorf has provided these thoughts about this new song:
“‘The Owl‘ is actually the first song that was written and recorded for the album. The verse riff/main theme of this song was the spark that lit the fire, so to speak. This was also the first song I recorded the drums for and it made me realize that Black Metal drumming is even more exhausting than I remembered it to be from — wait…18 years ago.
“‘The Owl‘ is a hymn to the nocturnal self. The Owl as a symbol for individuality (in German we use the word “Kauz” — tawny owl — to describe a pariah) but also wisdom, superiority — the unrelenting spirit of the night.
“Musically, I really wanted to have this ‘lonesome nighttime atmosphere’ to be the absolute focus of this song. It draws elements from Empyrium (how come?), old The 3rd and the Mortal, Emperor and influences by some of the more melodic Swedish Black Metal Bands too. One of my favorites for sure. Sublime, free, forever at night — The Owl”
There is a haunting grace in the slow, reverberating notes and spectral whispers that introduce “The Owl”, a chilling form of spellcasting that paves the way for the elaboration of that opening musical theme in the minutes to come.
What at first sounds somber and doom-cloaked becomes thunderous and majestic (but still cold and dark). As the drums begin to blast and Schwadorf begins to howl in wolfish tones, a sweeping melody soars through the tumult. Yet the dreamlike ambience of the song’s opening moments returns, this time accompanied by brief clean vocals, forming an interlude before the power of the music surges once more, the mailed fist casting off the veil, striking again, and that grand, cascading keyboard melody sweeping panoramically toward the crescendo.
To the Elements will be released by Prophecy Productions in a variety of formats: as a digipak CD (with a 12-page booklet), a gatefold LP (on both black and limited silver vinyl), and as a collector’s 2xCD box (which includes the digipak CD, the out-of-print 1999 MCD Poems To The Wretches Hearts in a cardsleeve, a patch, and an autographed, hand-numbered certificate in a hotfoil-embossed box).
Prophecy is also releasing a vinyl compilation named Shadows Of The Past, which contains all the Sun of the Sleepless recordings from 1998-2004 (available on black and limited gold vinyl).
Links providing further details are below, along with our premiere of “The Owl” and a stream of the previously released song, “Motions“.
Sun of the Sleepless on Facebook:
1. The Burden
2. Motions (Invisible Oranges premiere)
3. The Owl
4. Where in My Childhood Lived a Witch
5. Forest Crown
6. The Realm of the Bark
7. Phoenix Rise