In a stagnant genre saturated with fashionXcore try-hards and Botch rip-offs, Oh, Sleeper has set out with the intent to awake those whose ears have grown tired and weary of the mindless carbon copy metal-core of the scene today. The Texan band is an amalgamation of ex-members of Between the Buried and Me, As Cities Burn, as well as the now defunct Terminal. With the exception of those who came from Terminal, these musicians didn’t exactly play pivotal roles in their ex-bands. However, that doesn't change the fact that broadcasting this information is a clever move on the band’s part. The androgynous, white belted youth; with their dyed black hair, perfectly straightened by their mommy’s ceramic flat iron, will be sure to snag The Armored March when they see the sticker proclaiming “FEATURING THE MEMBERS OF: TERMINAL, BTBAM, and, AS CITIES BURN” plastered on the CD in their favourite music store. Or, more realistically; kids will download the torrent when they see that it’s tagged with a description akin to the one above. Either way, if you listen to Oh, Sleeper expecting As Cities Burn or BTBAM, my crystal ball doesn’t show severe disappointment in your future. This isn’t a bad thing either, as neither of these bands are the ones who are to be held accountable for contributing to the demise of the scene. Oh, Sleeper is a new band with considerable experience and skill, and it shows on The Armored March.
The songs on the EP seem to share a common theme: one of war, a sense of duty, the reluctance of the necessary fight, and the consequences that arise from it. In “His Name Was Bishop”, singer, Micah Kinard, vents frustration with frauds who obtain undue credit with lyrics like “Bishop! You’re as far from the cloth as the dogs!” The chugging breakdown is sure to get the kids two steepin’ and spin kickin’ like no other and makes me want to dust off my own dancin’ shoes and join them. “The Siren’s Song” manages a cohesive combination of fantastic lyrics, excellent instrumentation, chilling imagery, and even a nod or two towards Homer’s, The Odyssey. It’s refreshing to hear meaningful songs as an alternative to typical “my-girlfriend-broke-my-heart-and-slept-with-my-best-friend-and-her-dentist-and-now-i-dry-sob-my-
self-to-sleep-every-night-blah-blah-blah-ROAR-blah” songs these days.
When the dust from the battle has settled and all is said and done, it’s safe to say that Oh, Sleeper has released a very solid debut EP. Lyrics and instrumentation are clearly where it shines. The Armored March missteps when the songs on the disc tend to blend together. Upon the first few listens it’s somewhat difficult to differentiate between tracks. However, once you read up on the lyrics and spin the disc a couple more times, the album grows and becomes more accessible and enjoyable. Is Oh, Sleeper a proverbial rare diamond in the vast rough that is the “hardcore” scene? Perhaps that remains to be seen, but if nothing else, this EP shows the band’s enormous potential. The full length is eagerly awaited and one can be sure Oh, Sleeper will not disappoint.