Oh, Sleeper
When I Am God

Though most may take a look at the band moniker, album title and label and pass this off as yet another Christian metalcore bands trying to clone As I Lay Dying, the fact is with former members of Between the Buried and Me and short lived rock act Terminal in their ranks, Oh, Sleeper are a much more experienced and better than average Christian hardcore/metalcore act.

Mixing a form of dramatic form of ‘clean’ metalcore/hardcore than culls from the likes of Taken, Shai Hulud, Means, Life in Your Way and Misery Signals with more discordant elements like Symphony in Peril and Zao, Oh, Sleeper’s melodic yet caustic stylings clash with a heavy handed religious lyrical theme that makes for a solid listen, though it is certainly only for fans of the genre and the faith, not the casual metal fan.

The driving force of Oh, Sleeper is vocalist Micah Kincaid and his passionate, yet elegant screams and almost prayer like segments of semi spoken words. His cadence and themes reminded me of Geert van Der Velde’s work on Shai Hulud’s That Within Blood Ill Tempered, though musically its not quite as gregarious. Musically, former Between the Buried and Me guitarist Shane Blay displays his days spent with Paul Waggoner have rubbed off with numerous forays into sweeping, arpeggio filled melody (one right off the get go to start opener “Vices Like Vipers”) amid the generally scattershot and more dissonant rhythms and time changes. The mix makes for hardly instant or memorable songs, but rather one piece of complete music.

With the album comprising of the 5 songs from their bands 2006 released The Armoured March EP, plus 6 new songs, you’d expect there to be some tangible break in the material, but to the bands credit, all 11 tracks flow with the exact same pace and delivery-that’s to say a jagged, yet shimmering, off kilter lurch (“His Name Was Bishop”, “End of the Campaign (The Amputation), “To Flagship” , with moments of graceful, oft clean vocal laden lucidity (“I Will Welcome the Reaping”, “The Color Theft”, “The Siren’s Song”, “Revelations in the Calm”). However, I think the more gracgful moments could use more fleshing out as Oh, Sleeper’s themes and often dramtic melodies just cry out for a orchestral backdrop or something to ‘epic’ things up.

Still, a solid release that’s off the regular hardcore/metalcore path as it neither sugary clean pop core or pure discordance, but a decent mix of the two held together by a strong vocal performance and religious concept.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 14th, 2007

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