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Sleeping Giant - Dread Champions Of The Last Days (6/10) - USA - 2007

Genre: Metalcore / Progressive Metal
Label: Facedown Records
Playing time: 48:36
Band homepage: -

Tracklist:

  1. The Army Of One
  2. This Calls For Patient Endurance On The Part Of The Saints
  3. Narrow Road
  4. Whoremonger: Epilogue To Adultery
  5. Behold The Pale Horse
  6. Dynasty
  7. Covenant
  8. Blame It On The Holy Rollers
  9. The Power Of Prayer
  10. Sleeping Giant
  11. No Sleep From My Eyes
  12. King Of Kings
  13. Oh Praise Him
  14. This Is The Word
Taken from the track “Blame It On The Holy Rollers:” “Don't you Judge Me. Don't you dare. One day I know I'll sit before a just God. Will you be there. Or will your false, your short sighted views hold you back from real truth. All your views leave you hostage, from love, from the real truth. Held Hostage! Don't point your finger like I'm the fake.”
 
Taking a look at SLEEPING GIANT’s lyrical content probably didn’t put me in the best mood for this review, treading the path of fellow preachy Christian Metalcore acts such as NORMA JEAN, here is a band laying down their take on the Bible and how the rest of us, or how I like to call, the majority of the Metal buying audience, are going to Hell if we don’t repent from our sin filled lives. Fair enough they’re a Christian band on a Christian label, unfortunately on a philosophical level' I would be put off from touching this.
 
For those not put off I’ll be as impartial as possible, SLEEPING GIANT is a band with a variety of influences which on this debut break the album into something of a two headed beast. Starting off with a slowed take on mosh driven metal tinged hardcore for the first half of the album SLEEPING GIANT adopt a more epic approach for the end of the record, borrowing from the likes of ISIS in song structuring and arrangements but slightly lacking the Post-Hardcore ferocity of the seasoned veterans.
 
The slowed moshy Metalcore is a nice mix of chugging Death Metal style riffs shoe horned into Hardcore structures and bass heavy lines layered against a versatile vocalist who utilizes a range of hardcore shouts and growls as well as more melodious parts that can take a slight Emo turn such as in “Dynasty,” whilst “Whoremonger: Epilogue To Adultery” has a rap like “quality” which makes the mellower elements of the track sound like a P.O.D b-side.
 
Whilst there is a certain level of technicality shown riff wise in “Behold The Pale Horse,” SLEEPING GIANT do start to sound a little all-over-the-place as they throw too many ideas into the mix instead off concentrating on truly memorable breakdowns and the Metalcore starts to wear thin as the lack of songwriting creativity is masked by a million varieties of vocal styles.
 
From “Sleeping Giant” the tracks start to stretch out into five to seven minute affairs encompassing a doom edged style in the riffing and a more measured approach to cleaner and heavier vocal stylings and fast and slow tempos, the breakdowns also carry a greater malevolence and are utilized more creatively. “King Of Kings” illustrates the ISIS influence best with a loud bass toying with the monotone driving riff that is occasionally layered with a more melodious ascending/descending riff structures, the song moving from quiet to loud. The vocal arrangements take on a Post-Hardcore tilt as Doom-esque melodious vocals are interspersed with the ferocious Hardcore growls of the first half. The final track is the most epic at almost eight minutes, a well measured Post-Hardcore track where clean vocals repeat “This is the word, the word of the Lord. Prepare” before chugging riffs pick the track up for a short heavy interlude returning to the monotone riffing as it had opened then fading out on chugging guitars.
 
SLEEPING GIANT are a weird one to call, whilst the angular nature of opener “The Army Of One” drew me in, the first-half Metalcore salvos were plagued by a lack of true variety. Conversely the latter tracks seemed more appropriate to the lyrical content of “End Days” and whilst the music was less ferocious, it was better handled and more compelling, the dual guitars working more cohesively in creating atmosphere and controlled heaviness. Unfortunately aside from the lyrical tack the range of styles didn’t gel and in my view SLEEPING GIANT would do well to decide whether it wants to continue plying mosh friendly unsatisfying music or continue the more promising epic Post-hardcore approach of the album closers.

(Online June 6, 2007)

Richard Williams



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