Perhaps no band pens lyrics that are more in-your-face about the hope Christ can provide to anyone broken by sin than Seventh Day Slumber. This was evident on their surprise hit album Once Upon a Shattered Life in 2005, and is just as apparent on their second release with BEC Recordings, Finally Awake. In fact, in its 12 years as a band, the message of their lyrics is one thing that has never changed. The same can't be said for their sound. Known before 2005 for their post-grunge sound, with A Shattered Life, the band started playing more straight rock interspersed with slower songs, and it proved to be a working formula.
Thus, they evidently found no need to make further changes, and Finally Awake is a near replica of the band's previous release. It starts out rocking with the first two tracks, then slows down for "Missing Pages" just like previously done with "Caroline." "My Only Hope" brings back the grinding guitars before the softer "Always" - exactly like the layout of Once Upon a Shattered Life. Clearly, the band could have been more creative. But other slower songs like "On My Way Home" and "Undone" do change things up a bit, the latter having some strong harmony, as well as good use of acoustic guitar and keyboard. And overall, the music, though too much of the same, is easy to listen to and catchy throughout.
The lyrics of the album are really what carry it from the beginning. "The message of this album is clear," lead singer and songwriter Joseph Rojas says on the album's website areyoufinallyawake.com. "We want to empower kids to stop looking to the media, to what the world tells them they have to be, to find identity. You don't have to be what everyone else tells you to be what you were created to be." They certainly are doing everything they can do achieve this. "Breaking Away" boldly talks about "Breaking away / from everything that's hopeless / the road ahead looks wonderful today." Most of the other songs touch on similar subjects, all pointing toward finding hope in God in the midst of a dark world. It's rare these days that a band outside of the worship arena so consistently makes reference to its Redeemer, and it's refreshing to hear.
The sound is nothing new, and even those who have never before heard the band's music may find the songs too repetitive. Seventh Day Slumber would do well to continue evolving musically, and look to add more variety to a sound that, despite its broad appeal, is often too much of the same. Still, there are many redeeming elements that make Finally Awake worthy of a listen, especially if you're in search of a stronger, unapologetic faith.- PReview date: 2/17/07, Review date: 3/17/07, written by Spencer Priest
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