With the coming of I Am, one of the most influential metal bands in the scene has come to pass. What a big hole they leave in their absence. But let us get to the album that begins with the gang vocals yelling “Sleeping giant!”
Preachcore Lives! begins the final album with a message to be left behind for the next bands to rise up. With phrases like, “Kingdom over everything,” “Recognition of the one true name,” and “Don’t perform for the crowd, but for the crown.”
I Am shows off a wide range of guest vocalists, featuring Garrett Russell of Silent Planet, Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter, Mattie Montgomery of For Today, Brook Reeves of Impending Doom and Bruce LePage of 100 Demons.
The album is a refined effort and is very organized in songwriting. It seems that when going into the writing of this album knowing that it would be their final piece, it helped aim the lyrics in the most honest direction possible; not that vocalist Tommy Green ever had an issue with writing honest lyrics.
Green’s vocals shine on the fourth track, Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, with soaring notes in the chorus. No Sleep Pt.2 is a sequel to a song on Sleeping Giant’s debut album. While featuring some gang vocals, the song is absent of screams, but that doesn’t dull its message. “Didn’t I, didn’t I say you’d get no sleep from me?”
Fly. Fight. Crow. features one of the most infectious riffs on the entire album in addition to featuring one of the most noticeable vocals in the scene. Ryan Clark’s signature scream growls in the second verse with ferocity.
Reformation begins with some brutal lyrics, screaming, “Oppression at the hands of the priest. Progression begins with an open throat.” Later in the song, guest vocalist Reeves growls, “No more religious control.” The track is clearly inspired by many recent events in the media, and shines a light on what the focus should be on. “No other law in this reformation, only the law of selfless love.” The heaviest breakdown on the album can also be found during this track.
Drummer Matt Weir’s abilities are brilliantly displayed on Hosanna in reminisce to Matt Greiner of August Burns Red. “What can I say? You are the God who answered me, you are the one whose love has conquered my world.” Closing out with repeating the title of the song, Hosanna is one of the standout tracks.
Smashed Upon The Rock closes the final album from Sleeping Giant. Not slowing at all, the track continues the hardcore onslaught that never ceases throughout the entire LP. “Tell me why Your son was born to die, why He chose to pay the highest price, bringing mercy to the cast aside?” The final song ends on an extended breakdown with the line, “I bid you farewell.”
The career of Sleeping Giant has lasted for 12 years, and five full length albums. Their message has been steadfast the entire time, and there was never a doubt of why they said what they said. They were a ministry band, bringing masses of people together who likely would have otherwise not seen a manner of that type of brotherhood and love. With the end of their career, there are big shoes needing filled.
“For me personally this band has been such an important and special gift in my life that I needed to know that I was actually at a point where I could let go and move on. I didn’t want to feel grief like there was something unexpressed, unsaid, or undone in me; I didn’t want to feel like I was selling myself out. This band has become the private journal made public of the story of my life. It is one of the most important things I have ever done.” – Tommy Green.