Six years later, and here we are. To kick this review off, I’ll be up front and say that I never once thought I’d get the opportunity to review an Oh, Sleeper album. Oh, Sleeper ranks among the highest in terms of my favorite old school metalcore acts. I was bumping these guys in high school on my Christian metalcore playlist in the parking lot and copping all kinds of looks from the kids. Safe to say, this one hits home for me in another way entirely. I am sure many of you can relate. If you’re new to the site and to Oh, Sleeper, welcome. The beauty of it is that you can go backwards and live all of it over again. Now, let’s talk about why you need to start with Bloodied / Unbowed.
Oh, Sleeper is a four piece metalcore outfit from Fort Worth, TX. Their first album, When I Am God, came onto the market in 2007. That seems like an eternity ago, right? Wait for it. Micah Kinard is still your guy on vocals, always has been (always will be, right Micah?). Shane Blay and Zac Mayfield still dominate the drums and strings. Seth Webster is on bass, and you may recognize him from his time with To Speak of Wolves. Speaking of, Gage if you’re reading this I’m waiting on new material.
Bloodied / Unbowed is the first full length release from Oh, Sleeper in six years. Tell me that last year, I’d be pretty mad about it. Tell me that today, I am overjoyed. It was worth every second of the wait. We knew from the singles that this had all of the potential in the world. If you missed our review of “Fissure” check it out by clicking here.
Metalcore Twitter was chomping at the bits for this one. Everything about this album was special. Let’s start with the first few tracks, “Let It Wave”, “Decimation & Burial”, and “Fissure”. On first listen, “Let It Wave” sets the tone immediately. Bands often don’t get enough credit for how they piece together an album, and this is a time where Oh, Sleeper deserves credit for “Let It Wave” setting up Decimation. “Decimation & Burial” opens with a MEAN riff. Filthy, dirty, whatever the kids are calling it. Kinard hammers it home with that precious touch on his uncleans that he never lost. I’m not biased, it’s my favorite song on the album.
Moving right along, you’ll catch a different sound with “Two Ships”. It begins a little softer, but don’t be fooled. This is versatility at its finest. A massive round of applause for this track, few groups can assemble a track that nearly covers all sub-genres of metal. “The Island” is a nice pick up in pace and really fits well near the middle of the album. “Mutinous” (cool title by the way, whoever came up with it) and “Pulse Over Throne” (another cool title, obviously) is where we start digging a little deeper lyrically. Not to take away from the first six tracks, but we can really see here that emotions are rising. It’s a really cool thing to see, and I highly recommend following along with the album lyrically if you get a chance.
“Oxygen” and “The Summit” close out this bad boy better than a primetime Mariano Rivera. “Oxygen” is a staple of the traditional Oh, Sleeper sound we have all come to love. “The Summit” is a top 5 Oh, Sleeper track of all time. The craft of songwriting is one where you really have to dig deep, and this is Exhibit A. Take notes, boys and girls. Oh, Sleeper is back like they never left. I catch myself saying this less nowadays, but this is an instant AOTY contender. Fantastic job by the guys in Oh, Sleeper and their production/engineering crew.
Overall, this is metalcore nostalgia in July of 2019. My first piece of advice, listen to it for yourself and pull up those lyrics. This album has a spot for everyone. Next, get off the couch and catch Oh, Sleeper live in your town on the Bloodied / Unbowed Tour with Famous Last Words, Convictions, and Empty. The full list of dates is below, so drop your date in the comments!