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Germany's UNION OF SLEEP has delivered one of the most promising debuts in 2009. Unimpressed by current trends, their first record is a filthy, dirt-encrusted, hard-rockin' bastard that is not easy to pigeonhole. Some people call it doom and others say sludge, but apparently their heavy sound is caught between two stools. But I think that's a good sign. There are enough bands around that attempt to imitate their role models and I am grateful for every breath of fresh air.

In this case it's UNION OF SLEEP who clean the air in the form of eight mind-boggling tracks which are based on iron riffs, pummeling drums, thumping basslines as well as the deep and throaty voice of T. Hünig. Here and there, very unobtrusive, a few guitar solos have been integrated into songs like 'Mount O' and, if necessary UNION OF SLEEP increase the speed with tracks like 'Let's Kill' or 'Hell Unfolds'. But this record packs a furious punch right from its starting track 'Dogs' and rumbles on through 'All Purity' or 'Children Of The Earth' that reveals the band's fondness for 1970's heavy rock. I've found traces of Black Sabbath's 'Children Of The Grave' there, too, but I could of course be mistaken.

Despite all musical toughness, UNION OF SLEEP have a keen sense for hooks instead of torturing the listener with nerve-racking and brainless pseudo-brutality. It is overall, a very strong album with plenty of cool tracks and I am already looking forward to the second album. Just a last reminder: don't forget to check the lyrics. And don't forget to own this.