Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, Sleeper - Son of the Morning


This was my first Oh, Sleeper album, and for some reason still remains their most unknown album (as far as I know, I don’t know many people that listen to them). After releasing their 2007 debut that reached the ears of thousands of kids across the globe, they had to further demonstrate their songwriting and creative abilities by creating an even better record; and they did. Even though they just recently released their best record yet, Children of Fire, Son of the Morning is still a metalcore landmark in my book. There are a lot of changes that they made in their music in the two years after they released When I am God, which is what I’m here to tell you about.

Oh, Sleeper is an openly Christian band, and the reason why I’m making a note of this is because of the album cover, which was the first place where they used their know widely-known symbol. For those of you that can’t quite tell what it is, it’s a “broken pentagram” with the horns missing. Many people perceived this as being a Satanic symbol, but that misconception quickly died out after about a year.

When I saw and heard Oh, Sleeper for the first time in September, 2009, I was blown away. This was before their vocalist apparently cut his hair, because his hair was nearly down to his waist when he walked on stage. Regardless of that, this band doesn’t really fit the rest of the bands that their fans like because they have a more mature and progressive sound than other metalcore bands like Atreyu, Miss May I, and Killswitch Engage. But honestly, that doesn’t really matter because Oh, Sleeper has proved themselves to have the ability to stand out from the metalcore stereotype.

 Now since I’m writing a review on this album from the perspective of someone who has heard all the changes they’ve made in their music in the album after this (Children of Fire), I’m going to do a bit of comparing between the two before I start diving into the hardcore details of Son of the Morning. The biggest improvement that the vocalist has been making with each album is his singing. His screaming has always been top-notch, but his singing really wasn’t that impressive until Children of Fire. There is this one song off Son of the Morning that really bothers me because of the repulsive harmonization during the singing parts; that song is In All Honesty. The amount of technicality in this album is substantially greater than that of Children of Fire, demonstrating that they have tons of creative abilities on top of the technical skills.

The most notable feature of this album is obviously the seemingly constant technical riffs the lead guitarist plays. But that’s not the only thing that makes this album great, even though it’s a huge part of the album’s sound. The overall songwriting that was done on this album is astonishing compared to When I am God, which had really good songwriting to begin with! The song structures are extremely complex (depending on what you’re focusing on when you listen to it) compared to most other metalcore and screamo bands out there. Even though there is a lot of anger and fury contained within the fast parts and the breakdowns, there are frequent moments that are filled with melodic bass lines and huge atmospheric guitar chords that I’ve never heard before.

A band’s second album is always the most important (you’re probably sick of me saying that now). It’s the record that shows that the band has the ability to progress, be even more creative, and to prove that their first album wasn’t JUST a compilation of old songs, that they could actually put together great songs and have them ready for the public ear within a few years. Oh, Sleeper passed with flying colors. In all honesty (pun intended), this album is fucking great; and the Texas metalcore band known as Oh, Sleeper will only continue to get better after this. This earns 16/20.