Sleeping Giant—Sons of Thunder
By Chris Kretzu
July 7, 2009
This album will seriously pulverize all of your preconceived notions of worship music.
Everyone has assumptions—it’s unfortunate, but true. For instance, if I were to tell you that I got a new worship CD and then proceeded to put on the newest release from Southern California metal band Sleeping Giant, you would look at me confused. In fact, I have gotten more than a few of these looks when introducing their sophomore release Sons of Thunder this way. But from the moment the guitar riff starts on the opening track, this album will pulverize all of your preconceived notions of what worship music can sound like.
Since Sleeping Giant formed in 2006, they have been rewriting the definition of what it means to be Christians in a metal band. With a live show best described as a pack of sasquatches hopped up on Monster energy drinks, they have managed to gather a following in every town their van pulls into.
Sons Of Thunder delivers what people have come to know and love about Sleeping Giant. The passion and rawness of vocalist Thom Green’s lyrics are the perfect match for the ridiculous heaviness of the songs, and the pummeling drums mixed with the slaughtering guitars leave your heart no option but to respond.
Lyrically this album touches base on everything from commitment during persecution ("Gang Signs"), to God’s faithfulness in even the darkest of times ("The Streets Don’t Lie"), and it ends with the love story of a bride being reunited with her Groom ("He Will Reign"). The album does have one consistent message, as said best in a line from "No One Leaves This Room Sick": “To the generation I’ve seen in my dreams, you’re the only option the dying world has. It's no longer time for us to play church, it's time for every one of us to stand up and depend solely on the presence of the spirit of God inside!”
One of the darkest and most challenging songs on this album is "Descending Into Hell." This track speaks very bluntly about our role as Christians living in a time where human trafficking and sex slavery is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. It’s a difficult reality that we live in, but Sleeping Giant is ready to stand up and fight.
When comparing the two albums side-by-side, the new album is the progression that nobody knew they always wanted. The recording quality is much better than on Dread Champions of the Last Days, and makes the listener feel as though they are standing in the middle of the band—which I must admit can almost be frightening at times. While they stay true to their sound, the band still manages to experiment with different elements that add a whole new layer of musicianship and creativity to Sons of Thunder.
One of the things that stood out the most to me on this record is the chanting. On songs like "Sons of Thunder," "The Army of The Chosen One" and "He Will Reign" there is almost a monastic sound, as if they had a Gregorian choir in the studio recording backing vocals. It creates a sound that is both powerful and peaceful, overwhelming and reassuring.
It sounds like Sleeping Giant is on the frontlines of an epic battle and the entire army is singing the same song.