Sleep Riot by Candlelight

If you're one of the select few that prefer a good story to a hot beat, Sleep's debut, Riot by Candlelight, is a wise investment. The Oldominion MC is a master storyteller, weaving heartfelt tales like "12023 3rd NE" and "Angelique," songs steeped in loss, loneliness and violence that can be appreciated for the story as much as the message, although it's possible to do without the "Our House" madness on the former song. Many of the tracks feature guest appearances by Sleep's Oldominion compatriots - Onry Ozzborn is deserving of particular notice - and Anticon's Sole and Dose appear alongside a few others on bonus cut "Running of the Bulls." There's very little to complain about from the MCs. Sure, Sleep can occasionally sound a little sloppy, plus he sounds like Josh Martinez with less of the singsong flow preferred by J-Mart and with a greater emphasis on a rapid-fire delivery. Just check "Show Down" if proof is needed. But mostly what's lacking on Riot by Candlelight is an overall interesting sound. It's near impossible to find any beat that sucks, since they are all often quite good, with some creative sample choices, but the repetitive use of strings and choral "ahs" cause the album to blend together into one monotone sound that quickly becomes tiring. Better production next time around might make it more difficult to sleep on this MC. (Stuck Under the Needle)