Album Review :
Oh, Sleeper - Son of the Morning

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Artist: Oh, Sleeper
Album: Son of the Morning
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III


  1. Son of the Morning
  2. The New Breed
  3. In All Honesty
  4. Breathing Blood
  5. Reveries of Flight
  6. World Without a Sun
  7. The Fire Dawn
  8. A Banquet for Traitors
  9. Commissioned By Kings
  10. The Finisher

Oh, Sleeper is far from your typical metalcore band. Every song may have a breakdown in their sophomore album, Son of the Morning, but the songs themselves aren’t built around them. Too many bands do that sort of thing as the focus in their song writing and quite frankly, that is why most of them sound the same. Not Oh, Sleeper though, oh no. So much more is at work in their songs that make them stand apart. There is a lyrical depth here that you can’t find with many other bands.

Case in point, Oh, Sleeper have taken the ambitious task of creating a concept album with Son of the Morning. Unlike a lot of concept albums, this one is coherent from start to finish and doesn’t require hours of pouring over the lyrics to figure out what they are trying to say. The story is about the devil’s war against God and how the two kingdoms clash. Micah’s brutal screaming usually comes from the point of view of the devil as in the opening title track. He yells, ‘Your wasting power on grace. A maggot will always seek to feed from the grave, where I’ll lead them and teach them to feast on the skin that defeats them, the skin they crave’. Shane Blay’s fantastic singing (now stronger and more frequent than before) picks up with an infectious vocal hook from God’s perspective at, “If you could see like me you’d see you haven’t won anything. If you could see like me you’d see, it’s by my grace that you’re breathing”.

Some of the lyrics also appear to be sung from people’s perspectives on both sides of the war here on earth. ‘Breathing Blood’ seems to be about someone who has lived a life as a murderer and is struggling to find where they belong as they don’t feel worthy of any redemption. As you can imagine this is a very empowering album that is perfect for anyone going through struggles in their day to day walk or who are just fed up with falling. If your blood isn’t pumping by the time Micah screams ‘I’ll cut off your horns’ (the inspiration for the cover art) in the epic closer, ‘The Finisher’, then you may have a heart condition.

Fortunately, the music is just as strong as the lyrics and every bit as powerful. ‘In All Honesty’ features Cody Bonnette from As Cities Burn and his calm voice is unmistakable. It’s a nice twist to change things up a bit as he joins with Shane to counterbalance Micah’s screaming. ‘Reveries of Flight’ starts off slowly with more brilliant singing by Shane and some electronic touches that remind me of The Postal Service. Yet another example of them branching out to other sounds outside of any genre barrier. Their heaviest track, ‘World Without a Sun’, begins with an insanely long scream and Shane’s strongest guitar work yet before breakdowns take over. Make no mistake, there are plenty of sweeps and solos to satisfy guitar fans like myself. The sweeps in ‘The Finisher’ were enough to make me grin from ear to ear.

About the only mark I have against this album is its short running time. Son of the Morning clocks in at just over a half hour long and it left me begging for more. However, given the subject matter and the fantastic flow of the songs this might have been for the best. It’s better for an album to wrap things up at the right time than overstaying its welcome and grating on your nerves.

Overall: Son of the Morning is brutal, powerful, uplifting, and at times poignant. Everything came together for Oh, Sleeper and this is no sophomore slump. It’s the perfect soundtrack to spiritual warfare and a refreshing entry into a stagnant genre. Depending on how you are with this sort of music the short run-time will either leave you begging for more or pleased at just how short and sweet this is. Rest assured, the lyrical depth will keep you coming back for more whether you are in the high mountains or low valleys of your life.

Gems of this album are: ‘Son of the Morning’, ‘Reveries of Flight’, ‘In All Honesty’, ‘The Finisher’, ‘A Banquet for Traitors’