Seventh Day Slumber has been on a long journey. The outfit began as a bona-fide rock band, but turned into just another worship group pushing out albums of same-sounding worship songs (seemingly due to label pressure). While the band's heart was there, and there was no questioning the sincerity of their mission, none of that material was able to reach the heights of Picking Up the Pieces, Once Upon a Shattered Life, or even Finally Awake. However, the band's 9-track debut with VSR Music Group showed hints of a return to form. Then their Redline EP, of which the proceeds went to feed the hungry, continued in the same vein. Now we stand 3 years after We Are the Broken gave us a faint hope with Seventh Day Slumber's full-length follow-up, Found.
"Sky is Falling" starts the album with a nice riff reminiscent of those older SDS albums. The song is a hopeful anthem that no matter how bad things may seem, they can be overcome. Joseph Rojas sings, "You think the sky is falling from the weight of the chains that you won't put down. You think the sky is falling; you can breathe it's alright -- it's not over unless you give up the fight." The track even features a nice guitar solo from guitarist Jeremy Holderfield. "Horizon" is a classic sounding SDS ballad along the lines of songs like "Caroline" and harkens back to the "good ol' days." The title track follows and is an acoustic song that is likely to remind you of "Oceans From the Rain." While "Found" is a slower and more worshipful song that will certainly appeal to the band's worship fans, it still maintains a bit of a definitive SDS sound; the addition of "The Old Rugged Cross" added as a bridge is also a nice touch. The record moves to a more rocking pace with "Sins of Our Fathers" with Holderfield riffing entertainingly. "Heart on My Sleeve" continues the positive run and is one of the most impressive numbers on the album. At this point, listeners are starting to realize that Seventh Day Slumber is finally back.
Unfortunately, as soon as you're comfortable with SDS's return, "Mercy Meets My Pain" and "Til the End" throw you right back to those BEC worship albums. While it's understandable that the band accumulated many fans during that period -- and they are looking for the SDS they know and love -- these tracks just don't hold up to the previous bunch. "Mercy Meets My Pain" is a pretty song about redemption and God's mercy, and "Til the End" is a message from God about how He will be there until the end, but they just don't have the full impact of the remainder of the album. "Into the Fire" sounds like it should be a head-banger and, thankfully, SDS delivers. It's not the most blistering track on Found, but it features a solid rocking riff to get you moving. "Fallen" keeps the rock and roll coming and the half-time paced chorus is on point and breaks things up wonderfully. The album closes with "My Last Words" -- a track that blends the old school feel of SDS ballads with their more recent worship history. Thankfully, the closer leaves a much stronger lasting impression than the aforementioned weaker tracks. While it would have been nice to see the guys end the album in a blaze of rock and roll glory, "My Last Words" is really the perfect closing number as Rojas sings, "I will always sing Your praise; I know amazing grace will be my last words."
I think it's safe to say that Seventh Day Slumber is back. I realize the band never officially left, per se, but the guys have returned to their roots. Found feels much more like the album that the band wanted to make and not what the label most likely dictated. While there a couple perceived weaker moments, they can be excused as a nod to those fans who enjoyed the worship years. There's no doubt that some of those fans may be quite shocked by some of the rocking guitar riffs and solos contained in this album. For an old school fan, however, this album is quite a blast of a listen. If you had previously written SDS off as "just another worship band," then now is the time to return to the fold. Joseph Rojas is as passionate as ever and the band is putting together some really solid jams. Found is easily the group's best release since Once Upon a Shattered Life all the way back in 2005. If you've never been a fan of the band, I don't think this record will win you over, but long-time fans should have plenty to be happy about.
- Review date: 7/11/17, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com