Oh, Sleeper
Bloodied/Unbowed


4.0
excellent

Review

by Daniel Morgan USER (7 Reviews)
August 20th, 2019 | 13 replies


Release Date: 07/12/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Do not revive me

It feels weird to be writing a review for an Oh, Sleeper album in 2019. It has been seven years since their last full length release and five years since the band went on their impromptu hiatus. The band had been teasing new material for years, with the song "Oxygen being released back in late 2016. I and many other fans thought the album would never be released, and Oh, Sleeper in my mind would be remembered as a talented metalcore band that never capitalized on their potential they showed on their three previous albums. Yet, here we are. Oh, Sleeper are back, now only a three-piece, to give their listeners closure if nothing else with their long awaited fourth full-length record.

For this band only being a three-piece, the music on this album sounds absolutely massive. The guitars chug aggressively along with the deafening drums during the heavier breakdown sections of songs like "The Island" and "Decimation & Burial" while also showing off Shane Blay's riffs and delicate picking on sections of "Two Ships" and closer "The Summit." Zac Mayfield is no slouch behind the kit either, as he gives his best performance of his career on songs like opener "Let It Wave" and "Mutinous."

The most notable thing about the album is the vocals of screamer Micah Kinard. Micah had always been a beast behind the mic, but on Bloodied/Unbowed he sounds like an absolute animal. His visceral screams scrape across the songs like he's gargling broken glass in his black hole of a throat. Micah also utilized gutturals on this album, and he manages to stand up to most contemporary death metal vocalists throughout the record. Shane Blay's cleans as always act as a nice counterbalance to Micah's snarling growls. Shane used his time in Wovenwar to further refine his voice and this album has his best vocal performance to date.

As usual, a major part of any Oh, Sleeper album is the lyrics. Before the hiatus, the band had almost become an outlet for the differing views of both vocalists. On Bloodied/Unbowed, The lyrics are more abstract, but Micah's lyrics mostly seem to deal with humanity's ego, and the human need to align themselves to something. Opener "Let It Wave" acts as a biting critique of nationalism to the point of blind faith and tracks like Mutinous have lines like "I'd rather die than to give up control, no one's voice is louder, or head is taller, or vision is brighter than my own" showing the deepest reaches of human ego and need to control. James' lyrics seem to deal with letting things go with lines from "Fissure" stating "Are you the one who raised the dead in me, I'll give you anything, Do not revive me" or lyrics dealing with leaving something good for something lesser with lines like "Why leave the fire to chase an ember?" or "I'd give it all up for one more day at the bottom." It's hard to not think James is talking about the band as he sings these lyrics. The album feels much darker and more visceral than their previous material overall.

With Bloodied/Unbowed, Oh, Sleeper finally capitalize on the promise that their previous material showed and released their best album to date, full of a raw energy and passion that they've never reached before. I don't know if this is the start of a new era for Oh, Sleeper, or if it will stand as their swan song, but regardless it stands as some of the best metalcore of the year and stands alone as the shining jewel of the band's discography.



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user ratings (82)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
ramon. CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
I dug this bed, I'll lay down my head....

josh (3.5)
A record devoid of most cohesion or structure....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Danred97
August 20th 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another album i loved this year that I felt deserved a thoroughly positive review on the site. Constructive criticism is welcome as always, and feel free to tell me why my hot take about this being their best record is wrong.

Digging: Landon Tewers - Withdrawals

tyman128
August 20th 2019


1555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty good review, only a few things to point out.

“Micah used his time in Wovenwar” Shane was in Wovenwar, not Micah

also, Micah and Shane trade off on harsh vocals on this album too

anyway, have a pos, need to revisit this album again

Danred97
August 20th 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the catch there, totally didn’t catch that. Also didn’t know Shane did screams on the album. You know any specific moments Shane does them on?

artiswar
August 20th 2019


9268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the clean vox are what really dragged this down for me.

Danred97
August 20th 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The cleans were a highlight for me, especially on Fissure and Of Bane and Disease. They offer a nice counterbalance to the screams imo.

artiswar
August 20th 2019


9268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love the cleans on B&D but on most of the other songs the clean choruses just grind the songs to a halt for me.

Danred97
August 20th 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Obviously I disagree, but I could see how it could do that for some people. Just In general I like a balance of cleans and screams to create that tension between beauty and chaos. It did that for me so I have no problems with them other than some points of the slower songs maybe going on a bit too long.

Durrzo
August 21st 2019


1874 Comments


Micah always sounds like Micah. Shane isn't hard to pick out. The first scream in the second track is Shane. He's pretty active in Fissure as well.

tyman128
August 21st 2019


1555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea, in Fissure the somewhat lower screams are Shane’s, Micah’s scream is a slightly higher and more distinct

Shane: When destroyed you rebuild

Micah: It’s the same old song the most vile one

and it alternates

Danred97
August 21st 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. I can hear it now that I’m looking for it. Didn’t know Shane ever did screams but he’s pretty good at it.

TooLateToGoBack
August 21st 2019


1970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not the only one who thinks Micah sounds significantly worse here than on previous records, right?

Durrzo
August 21st 2019


1874 Comments


No, his voice sounds super worn down.

Danred97
August 21st 2019


2412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like how it sounds personally. It sounds more gruff and raw which really helps the album’s overall sound.



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