This ‘Sons of Huns’ article was written by Al Hall, a GIGsoup contributor

3*While Sleeping Stay Awake is the second full-length record from Oregon rock band trio ‘Sons of Huns’. The band formed in 2009 in Portland, and consists of Pete Hughes (guitar and vocals) Ryan Northrop (drums) and Aaron Powell (bass/vocals). This album comes as a follow-up to their 2013 effort Banishment Ritual, which received a multitude of positive reviews for its mixture of heavy blues and cosmic influences.

At the heart of While Sleeping Stay Awake is a search for answers to some of life’s biggest questions. This quest began for singer and guitarist Pete Hughes after he received a bite from a “bacteria-ridden tick” as a teen, which left him with chronic pain and illness, and asking “Why?”. This theme sees the band delve into ideas surrounding Egyptian magic, meditation and the occult. These explorations are accompanied by the sound of the band’s trademark riff-based rock, and this album shows the confidence of an outfit that has built its way up through the competitive hard-rock scene of the Pacific Northwest.

The opening track, Osiris Slain, is a relentless attack on the senses, grabbing the listener by the collar and taking them on a five minute bone-shaking ride. The contrast of the low-down, blues-drenched vocals of the verse with the raw nature of the pre-chorus and chorus gives no respite, and the song ends with a foot-stomping, bass-driven section that Sabbath would be proud to call their own.

The highlight of the album comes in the form of Philosopher’s Stone. This song, examining the effects of meditation and self-reflection, cleverly combines elements of psychedelia with an infectious blues swing. This is set to a thunderous drum beat and a heavily distorted guitar tone and contains a wonderful addictive quality.

The album signs off in style with the fast paced The Reaper Is Waiting For You. The song is a tirade against people who spend their lives in fear of death, and comes with a ferocity of Lemmy-esque proportions. The song finishes with a blistering wah-infused guitar solo and a more reflective instrumental section, symbolic perhaps of the immensity of the questions this album set out to address.

‘While Sleeping Stay Awake’ is out now via RidingEasy Records

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