Review: Oh, Sleeper “Son Of The Morning”
Hardcore act Oh, Sleeper debuted to an unhealthy amount of controversy over their first album, When I Am God. Sadly, many critics and Christian groups found the album title alone blasphemous and wouldn’t give the band a chance at anything. But if you actually sit down and listen to the lyrical content and the music, you will see the exact opposite. Oh, Sleeper proves to have some of the best metaphorical content ever seen in a Christian hardcore band, and the music is just as impressive. This summer, they released their anticipated follow-up, Son Of The Morning. The album continues a concept that was introduced with their debut. This time around, the concept of the album is explained in the history of the symbol that is on the cover. The cover boasts a pentagram, which is usually used in reference to satanic practices, but it is missing the top half of the star, which gives the idea of God having victory over Satan.
While the cover will likely result in just as much controversy as When I Am God did, hopefully critics and Christians alike will see past this and appreciate Oh, Sleeper for what they are: an amazingly talented group of Christians that love hardcore music and pushing the envelope. At first listen to Son Of The Morning, anyone who has listened to their debut will see that one of the biggest changes for the band is overall guitar tone. The guitars and breakdowns are tighter than ever before, especially coming from a band that we saw as very raw, last time around. It’s amazing to see what better production can do to strengthen a band’s sound, and it’s evident here on this album. Songs like the powerful, melody-driven title track prove that Oh, Sleeper can definitely stretch themselves, while “The Fire Dawn” and “World Without A Sun” feature bone-crunching guitars and vicious breakdowns that will please any hardcore fan.
Many of the songs tend to end abruptly, which isn’t new for Oh, Sleeper, but the overall feel on this album is that many songs got cut off right as they were getting into a really good groove. The album is significantly shorter than their debut, clocking in at 33 minutes and change while When I Am God clocked in at 42 minutes. But despite the album’s short length, many of the songs flow very well into each other, and Oh, Sleeper pulls off a lot of new material (and sounds). Electronic sounds and harmony singing is dominant this time around, on tracks like “Commissioned By Kings” and even “In All Honesty” has a brief As Cities Burn sound to it, as far as the intro vocals go, before the track is lit up with furious guitar riffs. Unlike their debut, each track is very separate from the others. It would have been nice to see a 2 or 3 piece song broken up into other tracks, like the tail-end of the band’s debut, but all the tracks on Son Of The Morning work independently.
Lyrically, the band has taken a more direct approach rather than metaphorical as they did on their debut. The title track kicks off the album with a chorus depicting God warning Satan of his end: “If you could see like me, you’d see / you haven’t won anything / if you could see like me, you’d see / it’s by my grace you’re breathing”, while the finale “The Finisher” features a beautiful chorus that depicts a new heaven and a new earth: “I will sing to the world your storm is capturing / and the angels will join me / we will sing to a world reborn from suffering.” Overall, this is a solid second album from Oh, Sleeper, and despite critics and the Christian scene, every hardcore fan should give these guys a chance. You won’t regret it.
Star Rating: 4½ out of 5