Artist: Oh Sleeper
Album: Children Of Fire
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: 9/6/11 Digitally – 9/27/11 Physical
- Shed Your Soul
- The Marriage Of Steel And Skin
- Hush Yael
- The Conscience Speaks
- Dealers Of Fame
- Means To Believe
- In The Wake Of Pigs
- Claws Of A God
- The Family Ruin
- Chewing The Stitch
- Children Of Fire
When it comes to containing peoples interest there are two types of bands. One that pertains to mainstream interest and one that pertains a musicians interest. With all of the music coming out now a days, the line is drawn and bands that contain both elements are far and few between. This year there have been many albums, in this case metal, that lay their foundation on either side. However, in my opinion obviously, the saviors of technical and mainstream Metal-core has been released early on iTunes because the audience’s demand was impatient and granted access to what may be one of the best albums of the year. Oh, Sleeper‘s “Children of Fire” is that album. Twelve tracks of in your face screaming and technicality that begs to replayed over and over until worn out.
First thing that everyone needs to understand, especially those that may get offended by lyrical content, this album is a concept. I am sure everyone knows this however the depth of the lyrics goes into deep concepts of God and the Devil disappearing giving an atheistic theme through out the album. I suggest not listening to random tracks your first few times, especially with the lyrics in hand. Micah has stated in past interviews that the song “Endseekers” is basically the aftermath of the song “The Finisher” off the record “Son of the Morning”. In “Endseekers”, God destroys The Devil with His children by His side (“Pry your eyes and behold our captain. Rally round his feet. As he controls his captive. Bring him to his knees etc.). However the next song “Shed Your Skin” God disappears. Lyrics in this song are very strong and blunt, much like other songs like “Means To Believe” and “The Family Ruin”. The first few phrases, “There is no right or wrong, no king, no throne to defend. Because we are all that exists. No blessing god, no judge or law there’s no cost or calls from the top because we’re all on our own.” and at the end of the song states “I saw God die.” Powerful lyrics. Harsh accusations however that is just how Micah gets his point across. My point is to look at this album as a concept and not a statement of faith throughout. Everyone knows who this band puts their faith in. There is nothing wrong with pushing the envelope and forcing someone to actually think.
Lyrically this is a very strong album. Every word and phrase are precise and to the point. Nothing is too far off of the concept and is well written. Probably the best writing Micah has done since Oh, Sleeper began. There has always been some sort of concept and feeling to Oh, Sleeper albums but “Children Of Fire” is by far the most mature and best written. To be honest this is one album where I cannot suggest a song lyric wise. Every song has phrases that people will be posting on their TUMBLR’s for quite a while
Was there any possible doubt that Oh, Sleeper would not put out an album that would cause guitar players and drummers want to quit trying. Musically what makes “Children Of Fire” an amazing album is the fact that the band mixes sounds and the technical aspects from “When I am God” and “Son Of The Morning” and add in a variation of things to create a sound that is original while keeping those things that make you think “yep, it is Oh, Sleeper“. What deceives the listener is the guitar technicality at first. Unless you are a guitar player, the first few times through you may pay attention to the piercing scream from Micah Kinard and the amazing rhythm sections through out the songs, including an amazing section containing quarter note triplet chugs with the drums staying in the pocket in “Dealers Of Fame”. However when you get a good grasp of what the guitar leads are doing opinions will change. This album is as “shred-tastic” and keeps the listener interested. Be prepared for a lot of tapping and a lot of sweeps much like the other albums but better put together, as if they could not get better.
Obviously the melodies of Shane are going to pertain to the mainstream audience. Structure of the melodies are tight with the music and the intervals, though are simple chromatic scales, stay interesting and catchy. I would have liked to hear Shane push a bit more and a bit more harmonies. Despite those two criticisms, the clean vocals are probably the best they have ever been on this record. I need not talk to much about Micah Kinard. If you love Micah Kinard’s screams on previous albums then you are going to adore them on this one. A broader range from high to low and no weak talking parts at all. It is strong and as Shane stated in the “AP track by track” contain some of the best takes Micah has done including a lot of screams done in one take and a 14 second long scream on the title track.
Overall: “Children Of Fire” contains something everyone can enjoy. Heavy guitars, shredding guitars, amazing drums and piercing screams being well accommodated by well put together clean singing. Stating this album is a must have is an understatement. This is lyrically and musically one of the best albums to hit my headphones in a long time and it is refreshing to hear musicians and writers push the envelope and provoke thought into the listener.