If I were to describe the album in one word, I’d say “precision”. Words like “driven”, “dedicated” and “purposeful” also come to mind. Sleeping Giant live their mission; to build out His legacy of praise. It is clear from the onset that they take their task seriously. The following refrain in “Preachcore Lives!” gives me goosebumps: “I will worship for an audience of one…”, a sentiment echoed like a warcry when first Tom, and then the other band members repeat, “One!”. If my description confuses you, listen to the opening track, and you’ll know exactly what I
The second track, “Second Chance Kids” states: “No truce, No compromise, Someone gave their life for me….” Sleeping Giant is a tight unit, and I enjoy how each player – from drums through guitars, bass and vocals – contributes to the whole of the sound. You won’t find any guitar solos here. Everyone drives to a single, focused point; like an arrowhead of sound. There is a good balance between spoken word and singing, and I enjoy how these two vocal styles compliment one another throughout the album. The melodic voice reminds me of Burton C. Bell, of Fear Factory, the “Digimortal” album specifically.
This is a band that looks inward, and considers how the Christian is perceived outwards, as in “No Love”. The lyricist asks, “Why would they believe it’s true? How can they know, if they can’t see our love?” The gospel of James is very clear on the relationship between faith and deeds, where it reads: “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26, but also see verses 14-25). When you listen to Sleeping Giant, you get the feeling that the lyrics are crafted from a place of contemplation. There is an honesty in them; a humility.
I wonder how it is for fellow Christian metalheads out there. Whether they feel that Christian metal bands are somehow not authentic – not the real metal “thing”. I wonder if they are conflicted when they are confronted with the lyrical content of heavy metal bands of a secular persuasion. I think this is where Sleeping Giant is such a great pick for the Christian metaller. It hits hard both musically, and in its message and it does so in a contemporary voice.
Hardcore elements shine in “Lantern”, and with headphones on it sounds like you’re in the centre of the track. It marches on strongly, and when you hear the end refrain, “Discipled by an orphaned world, Light thy lantern” it’s like you’re suspended in a space that opens in the track. “No Sleep Pt. 2” is a personal favourite. This ballad holds a great promise: “When you pass through waters I will be with you, When you walk on the waves you won’t be swept away.” The Father is always a watchman.
I love the low rumble in “Haunted”. Here, a tale of personal salvation is recounted – the disbelief as an outstretched hand reaches out for a lost soul. Ryan Clark (of the band, Demonhunter) makes a guest appearance in “Fly. Fight. Crow.” This song is sure to send a live audience on a rampage. It takes a strong stance with lyrics like, “I hear your songs, I don’t dance, and I will not stay.” Identifying as crucified often causes the Christian to be cast aside by unbelievers, as in John 15:19: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Love for God and love for the world cannot coexist; we are called to live a radical theology.
In view of Easter, “Reformation” issues a challenge: “Live like He lived, Die like He died”. It leaves me with the profound realisation that there is no one like Jesus Christ – radical. For me, the highlight of “I Am” is the second last track, “Hosanna”. How great is this: “Suffering King, Author of life, You gave everything.”
“I Am” finishes with “Smashed upon the Rock”, that tells of a personal faith journey that can be likened to that of Peter, or of Paul on the Damascus Road.
Sleeping Giant’s “I Am” scores a 9 out of 10.
Written by Karakul
1. Preachcore Lives!
2. Second Chance Kids (feat. Mattie Montgomery)
3. No Love (feat. Garrett Russell)
4. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts
5. Lantern (feat. Bruce Lepage)
6. No Sleep Pt. 2
8. Fly. Fight. Crow (feat. Ryan Clark)
9. Reformation (feat. Brook Reeves)
11. Smashed Upon the Rock
Tom Green (vocals)
Geoff Brouillette (guitar)
Eric Gregson (guitar)
Andrew P. Glover (guitar)
Nelson Flores (guitar)
J.R. Bermuda (bass)
Matt Weir (drums)
Record Label: Facedown Records, Jan. 2018
Dread Champions of the Last Days (full-length, 2007)
He Will Reign (EP, 2009)
Sons of Thunder (full-length, 2009)
Kingdom Days in an Evil Age (full-length, 2011)
Finished People (full-length, 2014)
I Am (full-length, 2018)
Lyric video for ‘Preach Core Lives!’
Lyric video for ‘Lantern’ (Feat. Bruce LePage)
Lyric video for ‘No Love’ (Feat. Garrett Russell of Silent Planet)