Artist: Sleeping Giant
Album: I Am
Honesty is crucial to a healthy lifestyle—both with yourself and with others. While it isn’t a vitamin, mineral, nutrient or supplement your organs need to function, or that can make you feel ten years younger (in just ninety days!), it’s healthy for your mind and your spirit. Honesty with others, certainly, but paramount to that is honesty to yourself. Knowing who you are and finding confidence therein.
With I Am, that’s exactly what the listener gets from Worship-Laden heavy act, Sleeping Giant.
Not afraid to hold back their brazen faith from the ears of the masses, Sleeping Giant lash out with a praise-fueled display of unabashed fury. From the joy—or is it?–opener, “Preach Core Lives!,” Sleeping Giant bring back a nearly decade-old style of “christcore” that strikes a nostalgic fire in the ears, minds and hearts of the heavy music masses. Even those with little faith or root in religion can find something to keep their feet moving and head banging within the half-hour span of Sleeping Giant’s swan song, proving that a true penchant for creating punchy, heavy music transcends just about any barrier man can erect.
Percussionist Matt Weir and guitarist Geoff Brouillette bring Sleeping Giant to life with their instrumental dynamic and capacity to create a cavernous roar of crushing aggression fit for fifty men with only four collective hands. Weir’s percussion is quick and punchy, peppering fills in between stuttering breakdowns and ruthless patterns. From the energetic and egregious “Preach Core Lives!” To the riveting, catchy chorus of “Second Chance Kids” and “Reformation,” a ruthless display of Weir’s skill. Brouillette works with Weir excellently, bringing back the intensity the band were once—and are again—synonymous with. Songs like “Reformation” display this excellently, where “Haunted” is a gloomier and more melancholy display of their doom-laden devastation. This is true of “Hosanna,” as well, which sees the band take on a more melodic style, focusing less on the heavy aspect of their heavy praise stylings to create something more intimate between the listener and the band. The duo take a backbone of hardcore and metalcore and fill it out with melodic and murderously heavy death metal influence to lend variety in among their energetic salvos of breakdowns, immolating riffs and hypnotizing moments of soothing calm, creating an experience out of what might have otherwise been a somewhat standard-fare example of heavy music.
So, if you haven’t gleaned it from the introductory paragraph(s) or the previous segment, Sleeping Giant’s message of Christ and redemption is a major component of their sound—and it comes from the vocal cords and mind of frontman Tom Green. Green’s voice is vicious—and he’s joined by some of the best the past-and-present “Christcore” movement have had to offer—and tears at the listener’s sanity with ferocity and fervor. With syllables drenched in passion, Green uses the pounding and relentless instrumentation that serves as I Am‘s backbone as his altar from which to preach, telling stores of redemption that seem personal, introspective and true to Sleeping Giant as a whole. Songs like the introductory number are a little more overt and over-the-top, while “Hosanna” and “Reformation” are a little moodier and more thoughtful. On each of these, Green’s incredible harsh voice melds with moving cleanly sung vocals and dynamic vocal harmonies to keep the listener engaged (and while still bringing back that late 2000s nostalgia). I Am sees Green leading the charge in a righteous way, bringing nothing if not intensity and dedication to the fold.
Sleeping Giant are a solid band, and, for their farewell outing, they’ve managed to assemble a collection of their best tracks yet. The only thing left to discuss is the divisive nature of the band. For the most part, even those without religious inclination will find enjoyment in the sharp riffs, bouncy breakdowns and dynamic tracks that Green and the trio as a whole provide—that’s me—someone without much in the way of a religious affiliation still headbanging away, as hyped as ever to Green’s excellent vocal work and Sleeping Giant’s dedication to devastating metal. To others, however, it might just be too much. Sleeping Giant didn’t pick a “safe” or “commercial” aspect to discuss their faith—they did it balls out, pedal to the metal, and for those with staunch feelings against religion as a whole (especially in heavy music), it’s probably just too much to see past. This isn’t a discouragement, nor is it really a negative to the album—it’s more a warning to those who might be expecting or hoping for anything other than the over the top, incredible and almost belligerent faith driven lyricism the band boast. No matter what—leave it or take it—theres no doubt that by the end of their farewell release, the listener really knows just who Sleeping Giant are.
For Fans Of: For Today, Covenenant, Reformers, Convictions
By: Connor Welsh