Despite the fact that metal is inherently passionate and aggressive, many bands in the genre fail to convey any sort of message that fits the intensity of the delivery. This can be frustrating, so it's nice to hear a band like Sleeping Giant, who pulls no punches when it comes to heavy, sincere lyrical content. Coming from the fertile grounds of south California and the family of Facedown Records, they have released Sons of Thunder, their second full length album.
Musically, Sleeping Giant manages to fall firmly in the comfortable middle ground of metal without being boring or tired. Each track has at least one satisfying riff, but technicality is at a minimum. Meanwhile, the drums press on with a steady syncopated beat for much of the album. For the most part, the instrumentation provides a crunchy background for vocalist Thom Green to shout and growl his message. The vocal approach is also comfortably familiar, although in several tracks the metal growl is abandoned for clean singing. The vocals are also broken occasionally by spoken prayers and even by a guest appearance from Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter on "The Army of the Chosen One." One exception to the trend worth noting is the final song, "He Will Reign." When I saw the track length, I assumed it would be a typical metal instrumental outro. As it turned out, it is actually a legitimate praise and worship song, which is somewhat odd on a metal album. And yet, it comes off very well and is a nice touch.
While the music is average, the lyrics are far from it. This is one album that merits a thorough exploration of its lyrical content, because there is a lot here. I could spend a lot of space getting into everything the band addresses, but instead I'll just give a few examples. The title track is a salute to Christians everywhere, encouraging a resistance to the world while also emphasizing love above all things. "Descending Into Hell" is a passionate cry to fight against child abuse, with lyrics like "You know what's 'unbiblical?' That's Jesus sitting in some blackened room... The Master came to set the captives free, and we should be like Him, we will worship and pray, then instigate their release!" "The Streets Don't Lie" speaks of the shame in being poor and homeless, then transitions into wondering if the homeless aren't more blessed because of their lack of attachment to the material world. The heavy thoughts and honest expressions continue throughout the album.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the album is rather short. Coming in at only nine tracks total, it might seem like too little for a full length album. Several of the tracks themselves are also quite short. At the same time, this can be seen as a good thing, since the band avoids the bad habit of letting everything drag longer than it should.
Sons of Thunder is not an exceptional album, but it does shine in some areas. Where it doesn't, it is at least good enough to satisfy the average metal fan. If you're looking for new metal worth your money, Sleeping Giant's Sons of Thunder is an album worth considering.- Review date: 6/23/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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