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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Finally Awake

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
Finally Awake
Sounds like … melodic rock with a metal edge akin to Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Kutless, Red, early Jeremy Camp, and Day of Fire.At a glance … it's great that the songwriting on Finally Awake tackles a variety of topics, but the musical side lacks creativity with too many sound-alike tracks.Track Listing Awake
Last Regret
Missing Pages
My Only Hope
Breaking Away
Burning Bridges
On My Way Home
Broken Buildings
Every Saturday

When Seventh Day Slumber signed with BEC Recordings, they opted for more of a radio-friendly melodic metal style on their 2005 release A Shattered Life a la Kutless and Nickelback, as opposed to the heavier rock of their debut Picking Up the Pieces in 2003. By the sound of Finally Awake, not much has changed—which may or may not be a good thing for you.

Kicking things off with the decibels cranked up and guitar punch a plenty, "Awake" and "Last Regret" both address the all-too-relatable struggle of standing up for your beliefs in a world that's often cynical and superficial. Then much like the band's previous hit "Caroline," Seventh Day Slumber serves up "Missing Pages," the requisite rock ballad to mix things up, and a dead ringer for a Three Doors Down single. In fact, the similarities are so uncanny—right down to front man Joseph Rojas's vocals—it's almost difficult to concentrate on the words.

But once you listen past that, there are honest insights about Christian life struggles to be found throughout. Knowing the band members' powerful testimonies from previous interviews, the sentiments expressed in songs like "Burning Bridges" and "On My Way Home" have that unique "I lived it" authenticity that makes the listening experience all the more meaningful and rewarding.

Too bad the experience is also predictable. For example, just two tracks after "Missing Pages" comes "Always," an identical sounding ballad, right down to the pretty acoustic guitar strumming and the paint-by-numbers arrangement. Therein lies the problem. While it's clear that Seventh Day Slumber has something important to communicate, their limited pop-metal range isn't doing their lyrics justice. The sound is well done, but also routine, growing increasingly dated with each release. Fingers crossed that next time they'll find a way to offer something fresher with the times, keeping listeners engaged with their music rather than sleepwalking through it.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.