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JFH Music Review


Seventh Day Slumber, Fractured Paradise
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Seventh Day Slumber
Fractured Paradise



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Rock
Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 54 seconds
Street Date: March 15, 2024


READER RATING:   


2022's Death By Admiration found veteran rock band Seventh Day Slumber trading in their traditional post-grunge sound (and occasional rock/worship projects) for a heavier and more polished sound directly in line with modern post-hardcore. The result? One of the best and most compelling releases in the band's lengthy history. Early 2024 finds the band releasing a follow up, Fractured Paradise, that returns many elements that made their previous release standout, while simultaneously introducing new twists and some throwbacks to their earlier, more directly rock-oriented sound.

Album opener "Yours Truly" instantly introduces this dichotomy. The extremely polished, almost clipped, production that worked so well on Death By Admiration returns, once again allowing the band to sound better than they ever have before. It's a sound that's almost becoming a trademark on releases produced by Memphis May Fire's Kellen McGregor, and while it can occasionally be hit or miss on heavier releases, it sounds absolutely phenomenal here. Musically, the opener showcases a trend that continues across the album of having generally brighter melodies than the previous release. This doesn't mean that the band has totally ditched heavy elements, as the bridge brings a variety of screamed vocals as intense as anything on the last album. "Chemical Burn" is an early highlight, mixing technical guitar riffs with poppy melodies. "A Bullet Meant For Me" is a standout throughout its upbeat run, but especially when it drops into a choppy, electronic drenched breakdown.

Lyrically, the band remains as solid as ever, delivering songs of spiritual struggle and triumph on nearly every track. Many tracks tread a narrow path, carrying explicitly spiritual messages without resorting to cliched or overly obvious language. While there's a certain artistic merit here, even more importantly this approach may serve to simultaneously continue to encourage and uplift Christian listeners while introducing these ideas to a more skeptical audience who will hopefully be prompted to dig into the band's back catalog filled with material drenched in direct gospel presentations. It's a tricky tightrope to walk that has challenged many crossover bands, but Seventh Day Slumber have more than risen to the occasion.

The album's best track may come exactly halfway through with "Blistering Memories." It's one of the less aggressive tracks present, but delivers an energetic and constantly evolving lead guitar riff instantly reminiscent of mid-2000s post-hardcore while delivering direct lyrics surrendering life's trials to Christ. Later tracks "Lizards of Malice" and "Rehearsing Tragedies" deliver a slightly more nu-metal sound, attacking various strains of spiritually dead cultural religion in a clear sign that Seventh Day Slumber have lost absolutely none of their spiritually courageous edge.

The biggest challenge facing Fractured Paradise comes in comparison to the band's previous release. It's still among the band's (and frankly modern rock/metal as a whole) best releases in recent years, but is ever so marginally safer and less surprising than Death By Admiration. Fans of the band will likely be more than satisfied, but it's unlikely to convert present skeptics. On a minor, but similar note, the guest spots don't hit nearly as hard on this release. Magdalene Rose (formerly of GFM) is underused on the album's opener, while Kellin Quinn (of Sleeping With Sirens) fails to differentiate "Feasting on Vultures." Neither are bad features, but they don't deliver the standout performances of Relent or Telle from The Word Alive in totally transforming their respective tracks on the previous album.

Overall, Fractured Paradise is a worthy followup to one of 2022's standout albums. While it may be less likely to convert new fans or truly change the game for the veteran band, current fans of Seventh Day Slumber and the modern rock/metal scene as a whole will likely find more than enough to like here. There are enough signs of maturation and musical evolution even in just two years to show that almost three decades into their career, Seventh Day Slumber still have a ton of gas in their tank.

- Review date: 3/15/24, written by Kevin McGuire of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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. Record Label: Rockfest Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 54 seconds
. Street Date: March 15, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. Yours Truly (feat. Magdalene Rose) (3:34)
  2. Chemical Burn (3:07)
  3. Surviving The Wasteland (3:18)
  4. A Bullet Meant For Me (3:28)
  5. Blistering Memories (2:39)
  6. Feasting On Vultures (feat. Sleeping With Sirens & Kellin Quinn) (3:14)
  7. Lizards Of Malice (3:29)
  8. My Novocain (2:53)
  9. Rehearsing Tragedies (3:26)
  10. Fractured Paradise (3:41)

 

 



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