When listening to Sleeping Giant’s final album, I Am, you’re left with one thought. It’s a notion that vocalist Tommy Green said himself: “I thank God for hardcore.” It’s been a dozen years and five albums worth of preachcore that Sleeping Giant have contributed in their career. Just as they began in 2006, they are taking their bow standing up, screaming, praising God.
I Am is as hardcore as fans would expect. It’s a well-selected cross-section of their styles and, although the spectrum is dedicated to their specific style of hardcore hymn, it’s still heavily packed with the unorthodox metal that gives Sleeping Giant their notoriety. From the more proprietary preachcore of “Hosanna” to the classic hardcore slant of “Lantern” and even the metalcore tinted “No Love,” there’s just enough of everything great about the band to leave one last impression of who they are and why they will be missed.
One of the greatest aspects of the album is the all-star cast of collaborators. Silent Planet frontman Garrett Russell may have been alone in his guest spot repping the new generation, but he was joined by some of Christian metal’s OGs as well. They were sure to recruit some unclean vocals from Bruce LePage, Brook Reeves, Mattie Montgomery, and Ryan Clark, as well. As with all of Sleeping Giant’s music, the message is front and center and paramount to the release, but bringing in metalheads of this caliber as support is a testament to the importance of the band in the annals of Christian heavy music.
Although a lot could be said about the expectedly brutal sound, wise composition, and fitting production choices of I Am, the more valuable focus would be on the magnitude of the album itself. As a bookend in a career as influential as that of Sleeping Giant, this collection – including two original members and a return to Facedown Records – brought everything full circle. As part of his concluding statement regarding the album, Green’s words give a heartwarming goodbye to what seems to have been the life-changing experience of fronting Sleeping Giant. “This band has become the private journal made public of the story of my life,” he wrote. “It is one of the most important things I have ever done.” In track one, “Preachcore Lives,” Green repeats a line that is the greatest explanation of his band’s fingerprint on the world of metal. Although it’s from the beginning of the album, it’s also a confident conclusion to a career that is worth revering. It’s a statement that allows Sleeping Giant to celebrate their departure knowing what will be remembered is their hearts for God: “We leave behind a legacy of praise.”