Release DetailsLABEL Facedown Records
RELEASED ON 5/1/2007
Dread Champions Of The Last Days
posted on 5/2007 By:
It was by pure chance that I signed up to review Dread Champions Of The Last Days, the debut by Facedown recording artists Sleeping Giant, and while some could call it divine intervention, others might call it shit luck. As someone who went to Catholic grade school, religious overtones really don’t bother me one way or the other, and these guys hold nothing back when it comes to sharing their message about Jesus. If you read any interview with any band members, the entire purpose of their formation is to awaken the senses of young Christians with a positive message about Christ, while acknowledging the everyday, human struggle of keeping true to their words, although they’re a bit pushy at times, none of it is overkill.
Regardless of whether or not I can relate to their lyrical stance, …Last Days is a legitimately passionate, provocative album that takes a few different musical paths as the disc progresses, sometimes within the same song, and does so in respectable but boring fashion. You really can’t differentiate what they do from any other modern hardcore band with a habit for going heavy. Sometimes the vocal phrasings are more in the style of POD, or a less-pissed Rage Against The Machine, and do a good job meshing with the slower, sludgy grooves on “Whoremonger”. “Behold The Pale Horse” starts our promisingly with a thrashing Sacred Reich-styled burst of speed and decent growling hardcore vox, but then a breakdown comes into play that kills the momentum of the track, leading into further breakdowns to generically conclude the tune with very little to-do, unfortunately.
The beginning of “Dynasty” was rather cool, and Thom Green’s switch into a great dry, clean mid-ranged style that is a refreshing change of pace from the emo tendencies most hardcore bands lean into, but as with many tracks on this album, the song sounds abbreviated and overly edited, and an additional minute and a half or so would have been a gift to help flesh-out otherwise kick ass tunes. These dudes have a knack for putting together catchy riffs that remind me of slower Hatebreed with a little Crowbar thrown in, and even the bare bones production resembles earlier works by those two bands, but the incomplete, half-finished feel of some of this album doesn’t even come close to the songwriting quality of current middle tier hardcore bands.
I was mildly amused by the comical heap of mock death metal belching at one point (“Blame It On The Holy Rollers”), and the constant shout-along thing is good for a chuckle. The more brooding atmospheres and longer lengths of both “Sleeping Giant”(4:08), and “King Of Kings”(6:05) would have sounded better if spaced further apart, maybe one of them placed in the middle of the album where all the shorter, immediate tunes were gathered. In the end, this was a hard album to listen to not so much due to religious perspective, but annoyingly stunted stylistic execution. It’s like they tried to take the aggression of basic hardcore and mix it with something more atmospheric while trying to appeal to the breakdown-crazy metalcore crowd, and didn‘t take time to let their ideas fully bloom. Dread Champions Of The Last Days will surely please those who already flock to this sort of music, but they sound like more average voices in the crowd to this ear, leaving me with very little anticipation for any further releases from Sleeping Giant.
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