The title of Aereogramme's second album, Sleep And Release, is pretty indicative of how the Scottish dream-metal band's music sounds, only the words are in the wrong order. Aereogramme tends not to shatter the stillness with eruptions of noise, but to strike hard and loud early on, then take long pauses. It's like a tank battalion storming into a quiet village, then deciding to enjoy the countryside, stay a while, and postpone the war. But Aereogramme isn't faking its fury: If not for the fragile vocals and hesitating delivery of bandleader Craig B on "Indiscretion #243," the wall of grinding guitar and pounding drums could almost pass for straight metal–at least until the roller-rink organ solo, sing-along chorale, and 50-second coda of ethereal hum and distant voices. Sleep And Release offers a fair amount of cacophony, though even amid booming numbers like "Black Path," "Older," and "No Really, Everything's Fine," Aereogramme demonstrates a taste for billowing, abstract lyricism that compares favorably to Sigur Rós, recent Radiohead, and even the new Nada Surf album (albeit with more headbanging). Almost as arresting are the songs with little discernible metallic influence, like "A Simple Process Of Elimination," with its intricate distribution of plucked and bowed strings and electronic and acoustic percussion, or dewy head-trips like "In Gratitude," "Winter's Discord," and "-." The album owes a big debt to the Europop trends of spaciousness and electro-scrape, but also reaches beyond the immediate environment, drawing on the consciousness-altering bash of Queens Of The Stone Age and System Of A Down. The collision of styles provides a splendid disquiet.

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