Oh, Sleeper – When I Am God
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Just for funsies, let’s make this interactive. Pick a choice and post it in the replies:
A.) I refuse to read this review. I know exactly how this record sounds.
B.) Shoot! I should have gotten a medium Oh, Sleeper shirt with my preorder.
C.) I don’t know anything about this band, but Blake’s eloquence and attention to detail never fail to draw me in.
D.) “I want that laffy taffy!”
It’s a special day, metalcore fans. The time for hiding is over. No more boasting about your imaginary Botch rarities collection. No more “Norma Jean t-shirt Thursdays.” Finally, metalcore shows will be filled with enthusiastic faces rather than embarrassed ones. Conversations about who is “t0tally stomping faces” will be spoken in clear, boastful voices; Oh, Sleeper have released When I Am God.
Oh, Sleeper are able jugglers. “Vices Like Vipers” opens the record with grungy guitar and clean vocals, which are quickly obliterated by heavy screams and a metal riff that poked my eyes out and then stomped them into jelly. Which, I guess, is exactly what I hoped would happen. As heavy (and long) as this song is, there are plenty of other treats to devour. If you’d like to pat drummer Ryan Conley on the back after the pounding that is “Charlatan’s Host,” do so. He deserves it. “The Color Theft” spends most of its runtime dwelling alongside ghastly atmospherics and lyrics like, “Who’s dreams are you killing? And who’s pockets are you filling?” The lyrics for this album aren’t bad per say, but I get a bit tired of hearing about unjust kings and bloody battlefields. Subtlety can be a powerful tool, especially when everything else is so forceful.
Fans of The Armored March EP will be unhappy to hear all those songs resurface on When I Am God. It would be completely unfair for me to call Oh, Sleeper lazy. I refuse to do it; moving right along. “Building The Nations” roars through with chants of “Destroy! Rebuild!” and profuse double bass. There is a moment when the dudes of Oh, Sleeper are either paying homage to mewithoutYou or ripping them off. Still, the section serves as a fantastic segue into the crashing breakdown. After all, flattery never hurt anyone. “Revelations In The Calm” would be completely useless if it weren’t for the last 25 seconds. A monastic chant and some (oddly nonsexual) heavy breathing explode into closer “The End Of A Dark Campaign.” Micah Kinard nearly rips his vocal cords out and bangs them against a gong during this track. The war metaphors continue, but Kinard’s delivery sells it all so well. At one fairly complex point, Kinard is left to bellow over a substantially slowed tempo until he brings the energy back with, “I was wrenched back to the storm!” Guitarists Shane Blay and James Erwin play just about every style “allowed” throughout “Dark Campaign.” At times the riffs soar and mesmerize, while at others I am left with severe neck problems.
Whether you’re over metalcore or not, it’s hard to deny the technicality and skill Oh, Sleeper display. When I Am God doesn’t become saturated with too much of the sing/scream – “I Will Welcome The Reaping” succeeds, while “The Siren’s Song” fails - and the breakdowns are relentless. Fight through the redundant battle documentaries and embrace the dynamic, wonderfully heavy world of Oh, Sleeper. This is a real brain-slapper.
Recommended If You Like: Norma Jean, (old) As Cities Burn, Stalingrad, Haste The Day, Trafalgar