Review Summary: The emotion flowing from the album is unmistakable, though for every other aspect of this album things can get a little bit more troublesome.
Christianity as a whole is a very tricky subject with me, though I was raised Christian and have absolutely no problem with the practice, I often see a fine line when it tends to inhibit all aspects of my life. Music is easily a top three priority for me, to some this is ridiculously shallow and demonizing. I on the other hand, think its incandescently provocative and a much more healthier way to exacerbate troubled qualities and emotions than, outlets like cutting or coping with an addiction. How does this all relate to the Christian Rock band Seventh Day Slumber? Well earlier in my life on my road to music nirvana, I went through numerous trials with several bands and it felt like everyday I would say to myself I’ve found my new favorite band. Exaggeration? Yes. But also important? Yes.
With Christian music, to me, my biggest struggle is that it all comes off sounding the same and honestly all the same subject matter just intertwined musicians, kind of like country music. I feel like every band is always singing the same topic, and once things get too preachy is where I draw that line and usually turn it off. Every now and then though, there’s a band that intrigues me based on the sole fact that it’s clear they understand the line that is often hazy for others. As best I can I’ll try to explain the limitations of that line, and the importance it is when trying to access such a vast array of people. Right off the bat I’ll let you know though, that Seventh Day Slumber aptly fails at this task, but at times know how to hit the mark.
For the most part there’s a time and place for everything I believe, with music this principle has never been more factual. You’re angry so you go listen to music that helps cope with that emotion, sad, happy, depressed, etc. You know your music and what it takes to cope with whatever emotional mechanism you’re facing. There’s also the music of praise, which is a category most people like me tend to understand but still shy away from. Bands that fill this category are the Jars of Clays, Newsboys, dc Talks, Relient K’s etc. Then we have those bands that blemish that line of solely Christianity and Mainstream you know who I’m talking about, the ones that kind of admit it, but wont necessarily say so, Project 86, Emery, Skillet, Switchfoot. In between these two book ends though is where Seventh Day Slumber fit.
For the most part, Seventh Day Slumber comes off like a beautiful collision between Jars of Clay and Skillet leaning more to the Skillet side. They have a musical hard edge with sound drumming and crunchy guitars that bridge between soft and heavy often. There aren’t any tricky solo’s or off timing drum beats to be found here, instead the band rely on emotion and troubled histories to establish a relationship with the listener. This “excuse” is used quite often for bands that don’t show the best musicianship, the “emotional” aspect is not a cop out though, but easily a strength as singer off puts a very real since of imagery leading us through his past life a time where addiction ruled his life and there was no reason for living, his lyrics are very real to say the least. There will come a day when I’ll explain, All the mistakes your dad has made, I hope you see that it was Christ, And only Him that rescued me
. As you can see the band does rely on a strong use of faith when portraying their music but more on that later.
All around, musically everything is pretty solid. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before all the typical rhythm builds and epic choruses are still here to be found, but somehow the band succeeds in emasculating this better than other contemporaries like Daughtry. The reason? Joseph Rojas front man for the band has an extremely impressive voice, balancing the act of screaming and singing very well for a 3 person outfit. Another positive to note, this is a three person band that knows how to rock. They’re in control of their instuments for the entire listen and everything fits in place perfectly, songs like Awake
, Missing Pages
, and Burning Bridges
showcase this feat. best.
Lyrically, is where things get a little trickier. I tried to outline best earlier how hard it is to straggle the line between preachy and fake affectionate lyrics. The band often know how to paint a beautiful picture of struggle and imbalance in ones life but then begin to tarnish the requiem with telling us why to believe, instead of showing us either how to or why to. This is often a hard concept to convey and emulate but when done right it works, see Emery. Songs like My Only Hope
and On My Way Home
provide the best examples as Joseph once again lets us into his world, but instead of continuing the path of how things change for him we’re bogged down with lyrics telling us to change or we’ll be forever lost. For most, including me, this is the problem most people struggle with when it comes to accepting Christianity. People do much better when they’re shown how things can change rather than feeling pressure for upon themselves to take such an action immediately.
Like I said earlier, it sometimes works. The music has its moments where it fits the desperation in Joseph’s voice perfectly all around providing a very captivating experience. Other times though, it’s just the typical slow song, with typical acoustic guitars, simple ½ beats, and typical lyrics about how Jesus is our
strength instead of his
own. I’d recommend this band, for anyone who’s pretty void of emotional boosting, as its pretty moving for what it offers, especially if you’re able to connect on the emotional level Joseph is on. If you’re looking for growth musically though, stray away as you’ll be disappointed in several areas.