Thursday, September 08, 2011

Album: Oh, Sleeper - Children Of Fire

Band: Oh, Sleeper
Album: Children Of Fire
Label: Solid State
Year: 2011

01. Endseekers
02. Shed Your Soul
03. The Marriage Of Steel And Skin
04. Hush Yael
05. The Conscience Speaks
06. Dealers Of Fame
07. Means To Believe
08. In The Wake Of Pigs
09. Claws Of A God
10. The Family Ruin
11. Chewing The Stitch
12. Children Of Fire

Oh, Sleeper have been consistently an above-average metalcore band. Releasing their debut record When I Am God in 2007, the band was able to come up with a sound that was not necessarily their own, but one that worked for them. Now with that being said, the album had a lot of room for improvement, and in their second album Son of The Morning, Oh, Sleeper tried to correct the flaws found in When I Am God. Their sophomore album found them experimenting with more technicality and more aggression, but still, something beneath the surface seemed to be lacking. The previous statements, however, no longer apply to their sound, thanks to their newest effort Children of Fire. 

The album opens up with EndSeekers where dark melodies and eerie dissonance mark the platform for Micah Kinard's highly improved emotionally-charged vocals. Right from the bat the listener will notice a drastic improvement in the bands sound. Whether it is the aggressive drumming and the deep bass tones, or the sporadic, chaotic riffs, the guys in Oh, Sleeper really stepped up their performance in all areas. 

The guitars in the album really provide the solid backbone to set the tone of the album, whether that tone suggests utter chaos as in Shed Your Soul, or even a sense of reflection as in the acoustic driven Means To Believe. Now a lot of people may be skeptical (and rightfully so) of acoustic tracks on a "metal" album, but the band were really able to pull off not just one, but two acoustic tracks on this record. Both aforementioned Means To Believe and the song The Conscience Speaks are perfect songs of reflection amidst all of the chaos that is Children of Fire. Showcasing clean vocalist Shane Blay's talent at singing and wonderfully played acoustics, both songs are delightful breaks for the listener before they are thrust back into the turmoil.

Now Oh, Sleeper is a band that delights in concept albums. When I Am God is loosely based on a concept, whereas Son of Morning is a full on concept record depicting the events leading to, and including, the final battle between God and Satan. During Son of Morning's closer The Finisher, God cuts of Satan's horns in the dramatic climax of the album. This album, conceptually leaves off exactly where the previous album finished. As Satan's horns hit the ground, both him and God disappear, leading the world to believe that they killed each other off. This leaves the world in chaos, as former, shallow, believers lose faith at the disappearance of God, and former disbelievers (in God) begin growing in their faith after witnessing the battle. Micah Kinard uses beautifully composed lyrics to tell this story. Songs such as Hush Yael and Chidren of Fire leaves the listeners heart pounding, wondering where the plot will take them.

Oh, Sleeper have really stepped up their game with this release. Improvement shines like a beacon in the darkened genre that is metalcore. Combined with the heart-wrenching concept that everybody can relate to, and the instrumentals that will tear you to shreds, Children of Fire is an excellent record that gives hope to a dying genre.

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