Oh, Sleeper

When I Am God

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    6
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Aside from the fact that it recycles all five songs from the band's 2006 EP, The Armored March, there's little cause for complaint over Oh, Sleeper's solid full-length debut, When I Am God, which actually brings a little bit of hope to the much discredited post-hardcore scene. Like obvious influences such as Norma Jean and As Cities Burn, this Fort Worth, TX quintet work with the usual metallic hardcore tricks of the trade, but they show a knack for structuring them in meaningful ways, and ensuring that standouts like "Vices Like Vipers," "I Will Welcome the Reaping," and "The Siren's Song" stick like bubblegum in listeners' brains. Their methods are really quite simple: stay clear of excess technicality and bloated song lengths; fear not the benefits of melody and hot guitar licks amid the necessary vocal grunts and barbed-wire riffing; and make each guitar part counts, regardless of how briefly it hangs around. OK, so the template doesn't hold up all the way through -- "The Color Theft" takes a good while to get cranking, and much of the album's second half falls short of the first's rampant immediacy. But considering that most of When I am God's weakest moments come from the older EP, one can only assume that Oh, Sleeper are getting better at their craft.

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