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Sleeping by the Riverside: A Breath Between BattlesA Breath Between Battles (2003)
Reviewer Rating: 3.5
Contributed by: FortyMinutesWestFortyMinutesWest
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Miss Shai Hulud? Sleeping by the Riverside might not be Shai Hulud, but they do play the melodic metalcore style that the Lud helped bring to prominence. “A Breath Between Battles” is full of catchy music that’s sure to be stuck in your head for weeks after you listen.
Aside from Shai Hulud, I find myself hearing bits of Strongarm and early As Friends Rust. At times, I feel like I’m listening to some lost b-sides from “Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion”, but fear not, there are other things going on here as well. Like Shai Hulud, SBTR use melodic riffing throughout songs, making for very catchy moments. However, this band doesn’t have the level of viciousness displayed on older Shai Hulud releases, and they mix in bit of background singing and layered vocals here and there, which reminds me a bit of “Fists of Time” era As Friends Rust. There are also hints of straight up metal scattered here and there, but those are usually few and far between.
When it comes to lyrics, these guys pull absolutely no punches. These guys are Christians, they let you know it up front and they aren’t ashamed of it. They also don’t hesitate to criticize those within their faith, such as when they point out the hypocrisy of abortion clinic bombings on the song “Union for Change”. At times however, they border on just being cheesy. Such is the case with the song “Something To Say”: “I’d be lying if I said it makes no difference to me, you’re the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. To let you go is something else, every time you look my way I melt. But I fell in love a long time ago. And because of that, now I know if things don’t change I’m going to let you go.”
The cover art on the album is quite eye catching, it shows various illustrations of WWII, along with the story of young soldier who is separated from his comrades. The lyrics are separated into newspaper styled columns. It’s a cool little set up, and it shows that artwork can add something significant to an album. If you’re looking for some catchy melodic hardcore/metalcore, look no further than SBTR, this album won’t disappoint you.. If you like As Friends Rust, Shai Hulud, or similar bands you should give this one a listen.
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