For 15 years, Know Lyfe kept busy touring across Michigan and nearly every state across the country. From warming up stages for Every Time I Die, Fear Factory and Hatebreed, to playing Van’s Warped Tour, the band of locals quickly established a far-reaching grassroots following.
In that time, the group also unleashed six independent releases and remarkably reached the Billboard charts. However, three years ago, the progressive-metal band rebranded, changed its name to Heartsick, and promptly released a new LP under the new moniker: a self-titled, 2015 full-length record.
Next week, the band returns with its second album as Heartsick, a fiery 13-track album titled “Sleep Cycles.” The release show, set for Feb. 1 at The Loft, has VIP tickets still available, which includes a hardcopy of the album and other swag, like a limited-edition tour laminate. While a bulk of the new tracks were cut back in October 2017 at Random Awesome Studios in Midland, the labored-over LP was not fully completed until late 2018. In short, it was a busy year for the ambitious foursome.
“In 2018, we played a ton of shows and finally got to do our first out-of-the continental U.S. tour in my home country of Puerto Rico,” said lead vocalist Alfonso Civile. “Of course, we also finished recording our new record and, in between all that, shot some new music videos.”
Along with Civile, Heartsick comprises Waylon Fox (bass), Richard Pruneau (guitar) and drummer Justin Robison — all of whom contributed to the songwriting process. According to the band’s front man, “Sleep Cycle” blazed an exciting new path for the metal scene vets, who shaped heavy, yet melodic soundscapes in the studio.
Along with the hooky, classic riffs the band is known for, there’s also no shortage of inventive guitar wizardry and experimental vocal deliveries interspersed throughout — most notably on tracks like “Slave Labor” and “Loveletter.”
“This is 100-percent above and beyond anything we have ever done. We went into this with the idea that we’d record the heaviest record we’ve ever done — but also the most diverse sonically, with serious melodies,” Civile said. “I really feel we accomplished that and then some. We have managed to stay relevant while retaining our vision as a band and I am beyond proud of the work we all put into this record.”
After issuing stacks of hardcore tracks over the years, Civile said he prefers to pull lyrical stimuli from a vast range of delicate topics for “Sleep Cycle.” From politics to psychodynamics, the diverse batch of songs ignores thematic boundaries in favor of honest, emotional verses.
“Literally, every song on this record lyrically is different than the other,” he said. “There are songs about the current social state of the world, humanity’s impact on our planet, but also death, love and family—plus the effect of war on a soldier, slavery and depression.”
Along with heartsick, the album release show features a laundry list of local hard rock bands, including: Of Virtue, Assume Nothing, Greywalker, Biffy the Beat Slayer, the Amber Tide, Lifecurse, Foxbat, Low Graves, Some People's Kids and In Ghosts.
So what’s next for the band? “The plan is to play out of the state and out of the country as much as we can,” Civile said. “We are gearing up for a few out-of-country tours and some out-of-state runs this year. The goal is, hopefully, to gain the attention of someone who really believes in us and land a label home.”
“Sleep Cycles” Release Party
Friday, Feb. 1 @ The Loft. 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $10, $20 VIP, 5:30 p.m.