Oh, Sleeper is no stranger to controversy. Two years ago, when their debut album surfaced with the title When I am God, the band was called conceited and blasphemous. Many wrote the group off as irreverent or just another band trying to make a statement with nothing to say. Yet, a closer look revealed a group of guys with sound theology and a deep, spiritual message; not to mention bone-crushing riffs and some of the most intense guttural screams in recent memory.
The band returns two years later in much the same way. The cover of their album, Son of the Morning, features a pentagram, a symbol often associated with pagan and satanic practices. While many will immediately use this as a reason to write off the band yet again, a closer look at the history of this controversial character reveals much more, and starts to put the band's intentions into perspective. The pentagram in its original form was a Christian symbol representing God over His creation. Over the years, it has been altered to its current form, a five-pointed star. The cover of Son of the Morning features this infamous star, yet without its "horns," a trait commonly associated with Satan himself. As the band explains in the album, God's victory over Satan can be represented in this way.
The title track, "Son of the Morning," starts off the album from the perspective of Satan who is threatening God. Vocalist Micah Kinard's piercing screams are chill-inducing as they challenge God for His rightful supremacy. God's only response of the song is a powerful chorus in which he cries, "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."
Throughout the rest of the album, God is preparing to face Satan. In the final song, "The Finisher," God triumphs over Satan, screaming "my angels will sing to a world reborn as I cut off your horns. I'll cut off your horns."
To someone passing by the album in the store, Oh, Sleeper's newest outing may seem offensive or rude. Yet to someone who puts the time into listening to truly understand what the band has to say, Son of the Morning may just be one of the most life changing albums that they have ever listened to. Oh, Sleeper has crafted a musical and lyrical masterpiece full of some of the freshest and most technical songs in their genre. Listeners taken on this 34-minute journey will not only experience one of the most intense spiritual battles ever recorded, but also a band who truly puts their heart and soul into what they believe.
Son of the Morning only affirms Oh, Sleeper's place as one of the most honest, talented and hardworking bands in the scene. One can only hope that their critics open their ears and minds; they might learn something.- Review date: 8/25/09, written by John "Flip" Choquette of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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