Oh, Sleeper are a very clever bunch of musicians. Thought provoking, borderline blasphemous lyrics, detailed and highly imaginative stories that tell of great battles between God and Satan, all in a days work for Oh, Sleeper really. Most might not be able to pick them out of a police line-up but there’s no doubt people have a high respect for the members of Oh, Sleeper. These guys are devote Christians that know how to write complex and brutal music without sounding like a bunch of preachers trying to ram their religious metaphors and messages down your throat.
Children Of Fire is Oh, Sleepers third full-length album and first album to feature new drummer Zac Mayfield and bassist Nate Grady. The album is a concept album that continues off from their previous release and also concept album Son Of The Morning. So I guess that makes Children Of Fire a concept album of a concept album or just a continuation of a concept album?
If you thought the guitar riffs on Son Of The Morning were crazy/borderline insane wait until you hear some of the riffs/guitar leads on this album. Upon first full listen I had to change my underwear because I crapped myself in shock, this is one of the most creative metalcore releases this year and is up there with The Devil Wears Prada’s Dead Throne as contender for best album of the year.
Lead guitarist Shane Blay has really outdone himself on this album, and it’s good to hear they’ve gone back to dropped C guitar tuning after using dropped D on Son Of The Morning, dropped C works so much better with Micah’s screams not to mention the sound of an open string dropped C guitar riff sounds so much more heavier.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about the great guitar work without commending new drummer Zac Mayfield for his work on the album either. You can definitely feel Zac’s presence on Children Of Fire, he is quite a skilled drummer as their live performances with him have proven. Whether it be a simplistic beat or a complex 6/8 time signature driven beat, Zac keeps up and plays well. The drumming is excellent although sadly overshadowed slightly by the amazing guitar work and vocal delivery.
The metaphors on this album are unbelievable. Lines such as “Make my grave or animate my veins!” and “I saw God die!” amongst a whole bunch of other great lines are probably the most intense that Micah has ever written. The album is a journey that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re part of the stories being told, intense to say the least.
The track “Hush Yael” is probably one of the most heart-felt and personal songs Oh, Sleeper have ever written. The song is based on an attack that took place in Nahariya, Israel in 1979. A very sad story I won’t go into in this review, read the Wikipedia article though it’s very sad. The track is both haunting and emotional, you can hear the sincerity in Micah’s voice even though the event took place sometime ago and never personally involved him.
“The Marriage of Steel and Skin” is one of my favourites from the album. It’s heavy and it’s technical, a heavy aspect I really really love about Oh, Sleeper’s music. The first track released from the album “Endseekers” pales in comparison to the rest of what the album has to offer. It’s almost as though Oh, Sleeper were deceiving us into thinking Children Of Fire was going to be anything but heavy by releasing it.
The mixture of Micah’s ear splitting, throat shredding powerful screams and Shane’s angelic cleans are nothing short of impressive on this album. Although the whole scream and clean singing thing is overdone in metalcore, Oh, Sleeper manage to breathe fresh air into the combination and it works so damn well. You don’t feel like you’re listening to a metalcore album when you’re listen to Children Of Fire that’s for sure.
Children Of Fire is such a heavy, intense and fictionally in-depth album, I really struggled to not try and ramble on about a lot of aspects of this album in this review. You really have to hear the album for yourself to know what I am talking about. I know I’ve said this a lot, but this just might be album of the year and a serious contender to upcoming releases by Thrice and The Devil Wears Prada.
Children Of Fire is set for a September 27th, 2011 release via Solid State Records. Have you pre-ordered yet? You get a tab book for the whole album, I pre-ordered solely for the tab booklet.