Seventh Day Slumber is at the forefront of what seems to be a resurgence– both in Christian rock as a whole, and in their own personal music and ministry. The band’s last album Found released in 2017, full of songs that saw a kind of spiritual homecoming for the band, centered on experiencing God’s grace again after a period of darkness. This summer’s follow-up seems to turn those foundational messages back and apply them to a world that is, both externally and internally for many listeners, spinning truly Closer to Chaos.
“Alive Again” sets the tone for the whole album with its gritty verses and soaring chorus, sinking deep into the tension of a desperate desire for life to collide with the places where we feel most broken. The song also makes it clear that this will be a rock record, with riffs standing front and center.
“Cold Kiss Embrace” and “Burning an Empire” bring us into the heart of the chaos, the internal pressure and societal decay that can bring us to a place of desperation. Each song is led by Joseph Rojas’s signature gritty vocals, delivering performances that bring weight to each topic he addresses. “Light it Up” serves as a note of defiance to addiction and destructive habits. Swaggering “Drama” bows out of harmful relationship patterns.
Sonically, the guitars here feel the most full, developed, and intentional of any Seventh Day Slumber record yet, under the careful guidance of Jeremy Holderfield (who also produced the project). “Man Down” comes from the perspective of someone who has reached the absolute end of themselves, a theme that rides waves of beautifully textured electric and acoustic guitar above a persistent bass line from Ken Reed.
Another notable musical facet to Closer to Chaos is the contributions of drummer Blaise Rojas, who at just 17 has already been playing with the band for 4 years. His drum fills round out the tracks, but his songwriting contributions make an appearance too on songs like “The Letter.” This raw, visceral song plays almost like a sequel to Seventh Day classic “Chris’ Letter,” updated for a new generation perhaps even more urgently in need of a reminder that they’re not alone.
“‘I think you’d be better off if I wasn’t here
I’m writing you for the last time,
Been hurting for years,’
said the page stained with tears.”
That kind of confessional has always been crucial to the core of who Seventh Day Slumber is. Their refusal to shy away from the full reality of human pain allows them to offer a hope that doesn’t feel ignorant or empty. “Sober” takes a raw look at addiction, at the tantalizing temptation of going numb, at how difficult it is to do the hard work of healing instead of just coping. But between “The Letter” and “Sober” stands “Still Breathing,” a song of honest surrender crying to God “breathing, You’re keeping me alive / my heart’s still beating, You brought me back to life.” The album wraps with “Your Eyes,” a song which juxtaposes the worst places we find ourselves in with the truth of our identity in the eyes of a God who loves us enough to choose to be with us in the loneliest places.
Occasionally a band puts out a record that feels like somehow the truest version of themselves, like they’ve laser-focused in on all the things they’ve always wanted to sing. Closer to Chaos feels like that for Seventh Day Slumber. Every song is heavy both musically and thematically, taking on raw pain with visceral guitar riffs and vocals. The scale of the heartbreak addressed on Closer to Chaos is massive, but the hope of redemption claimed as truth is even bigger still.