Oh, Sleeper / Children Of Fire / Solid State
On the 2009 recording “The New Breed”, impeding guitars and a distinctive voice stalked our minds and set the tone for Oh, Sleeper’s second effort Son Of The Morning. Jumping from that particular disc to the group’s latest generation of material is almost catastrophic. A mere listen shows it’s unrestrained and has a tinge of violence, which doesn’t even begin to disclose how big of a progressive jump they’ve made. Truth is, Children Of Fire feels like a sweet rush of blood to the head from track one to track twelve. Having not been exploited as much as it should have been, the album spotlights Oh, Sleeper’s binding attributes and to an extent, quietly gift wraps the concept of a relationship between a religious type (who feels abandoned) and his atheist daughter in a neat little package of rampant guitars and vicious metalcore tones.
Concept records are no stranger to this genre, but by expanding their box, the group have twisted enough restrictions to turn the material on Children Of Fire into visual imagery, not overproduced experimentation. In the midst of it all, Micah Kinard finds his morale fibre, forcing lines like, “This is hell, make my grave” (“Endseekers”) and “Spread wide your wings” (“In The Wake Of Pigs”) to push his vocal growls and the band’s backing rhythms to be more direct and paramount. “Means To Believe” and “The Conscience Speaks” channel a very different side, but it stumbles as it’s a complete opposite to what follows. The urgency in “Shed Your Soul”, the hunger of “Hush Yael” and the bipolar artistic rip of “The Family Ruin” put Oh, Sleeper in a closet that merges the desperation of The Chariot and Norma Jean with a mid-transition Underoath. For almost five years, there was little worry the Fort Worth group could be placed next to the aforementioned, yet now, their liking to compose with more ingenuity questions what their rivals are doing. Most stuck in the genre are definitely not carving with this much verve that feels like a ruthless shot to the neck.
Download: “The Family Ruin”, “Shed Your Soul”, “Endseekers”
[Dig the album review? Discover more music news and videos on Twitter]