Oh, Sleeper

Son Of The Morning

Written by: BL on 24/12/2009 04:19:05

Oh, Sleeper's debut album "When I Am God" had its fair share of praise for its ambitious musical and (Christian) lyrical nature but also detractors as well who thought the similarities it shared with UnderOATH's critically acclaimed "Define The Great Line" was a bit much for it to be really memorable in its own right. "Son Of The Morning", the sophomore release, addresses and moves on from both aspects. Lyrically the album uses a battle of God versus the evil Satan as a canvas, which is a pretty epic theme in my book (that isn't the Bible in case you're wondering). The actual music itself has taken a whole new level beyond sounding only like a heavier UnderOATH too.

Former Between The Buried And Me guitarist Shane Blay has made the biggest step up on this outing out of the whole band. His lead guitar work, whilst impressive on "When I Am God", has been allowed to expand and develop far more here - leaving scorch marks throughout with his dazzling fret work (starting with the title track and ending with the blazing solo on the closer "The Finisher"). And as a result, the more progressive and thicker sounding atmosphere on the last album have been lessened in favour of more direct and more riff-based song structures. Together with rhythm guitarist James Erwin, who is no slouch himself, the two relentlessly barrage your ears with wave after wave of technical, dissonant riffs and crushing metalcore rhythms as a musical backdrop, but contrast it heavily with some equally strong more brighter melodic parts (there are hints of Alchemy Index era Thrice coming through on a small part of the excellent "In All Honesty" and large parts of "Reveries Of Flight").

While a large part of the UnderOATH worship of the last album is now gone, there still lingers a small fragment in the shape of vocalist Shane Blay's clean vocals. Sounding like Aaron Gillespie isn't exactly a bad thing though (if you like his vocal style and tone that is to begin with), and I've found his singing parts to be very enjoyable (especially on "In All Honesty" and "Breathing Blood"). Overall they make a far more numerous appearance on this album, but they don't steal anything either from Micah Kinard's screams which have improved in strength. His strained, piercing words sitting a bit more firmly in the upper pitch range and now sounding like Ross Michael Kenyon from Confide. Finally Cody Bonnette from As Cities Burn makes a nice cameo guest appearance at the start of "In All Honesty" (Yes I've mentioned that track enough now I think).

Instrumentally the guitars really steal the show here with some truly imaginative ideas littered throughout. The vocal work is not far behind but while the drums are more visceral than before, they're nothing out of the ordinary when comparing the band to their peers and while the bass guitar is just about there in the mix, it doesn't exactly write many postcards home. Despite the thinning of the layers and the watering down on the atmospheric nature of the last album, the intensity is still pretty high on these songs (not that the intricate lyrics about good versus evil played too much of a part I must say). One of the main weaknesses of the album is that past the mid point of the album the three songs before the final two tracks tended to blur together a little bit - not that anything wrong is actually committed on them though. The strong dissonance factor may be off-putting for some in the beginning but overall there's plenty here for the metalcore/post-hardcore fan to enjoy and there's just about enough variety and interesting content to keep me satisfied enough to award a

Download: Son Of The Morning, In All Honesty, Breathing Blood
For the fans of: Confide, UnderOATH, August Burns Red, Architects
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.08.2009
Solid State Records

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