Review Summary: An aggressive and thought provoking metalcore release.
It’s a well known fact that metalcore has become one of the stalest genres in music. Too many metalcore bands seem to use countless breakdowns and follow almost identical song structures. Thankfully, every once in a while there is a band that breaks that standard and proves the genre can still be enjoyable and even exciting. One of these bands is undoubtedly Oh, Sleeper. Their third effort, Children Of Fire
is one of the most original and thought provoking albums I’ve heard in the genre over the past several years.
Children Of Fire
is able to achieve something few metalcore bands have been able to pull off, which is mixing brutal screams with beautiful clean vocals. Due to Micah Kinard’s violent screams and Shane Blay's beautiful singing voice, the band are able to seamlessly blend both sounds. The first single off the album ‘Endseekers’ showcases an improvement in the band’s sound with the harsher screams and the improved guitar work. Both the growls and the softer singing are better than ever and put most bands like them to shame. Some songs like ‘Means to Believe’ are ballads that showcase Blay's heavenly singing, while others like ‘Dealers of Fame’ or the title track are relentlessly aggressive and completely shred.
Oh, Sleeper showed off some flashy guitars on their last album, but they really step up their game on Children of Fire
, with some surprisingly technical guitar work. Whether it be the beautiful acoustic picking on songs like 'The Conscience Speaks' or the blistering fast riffs on 'Shed Your Soul', the guitar work is constantly over the top and a welcome improvement for the band. My only complaint is that some of the guitar riffs sound similar, but the impressive execution helps to make up for it.
Not unlike Oh, Sleeper’s last album, this one is full of thought provoking lyrics. ‘Hush Yael’ is one of the most powerful songs and it’s also based on true events. On April 22nd,1979 a former member of the Palestine Liberation Front by the name of Samir Kuntar was attempting to kidnap an Israeli family. The mother of this family tried her best to quiet her baby “Yael” to keep them from being found, but tragically the baby suffocated to death in her arms. Kuntar also killed the 4 year old daughter with the blunt force of a rock. He was sentenced to four life sentences for the murder of four Israeli’s, but he was eventually released in 2008.
As unsettling as this story may be, ‘Hush Yael’ is the most impacting, poignant song on the album. The band fights against these despicable acts as they sing “We Must Rise For the Helpless and Fight for their Justice.” Surely, the song is about more than just one tragic event, but about all the lives that are taken too early. Many metalcore bands falter with laughably bad lyrics, but Oh, Sleeper prove they actually care enough about their fans to come up with inspiring and meaningful songs.
Children Of Fire
is the result of an honest band's hard work and dedication. They are a band who have improved with each and every adrenaline fueled release. I usually don’t prefer hardly any clean vocals in the genre, but with bands like Oh, Sleeper I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each gentle singing section is a nice break from the constant aggression and frantic guitars found on the other songs. I had doubts the band would be able to top their impressive Son of The Morning
, but they have put those doubts to rest with their most emotional and intense album to date.