How does a band that has been around since the late 90s put together something fresh and new? Seventh Day Slumber’s response to that question is their latest album Death By Admiration, an album that sees the band exploring territory they’ve only teased before.
In previously released tracks like “Last Regrets” and “Burning Bridges,” they’ve hinted at the muscle their music can flex, but it took until 2022 for that muscle to show its true potential. The payoff is what may be their most consistent and cohesive record to date, while it is also their hardest hitting.
Death by Admiration covers familiar themes of addiction, putting on a front for fear of being rejected, hypocrisy, betrayal, self-destruction, loss and redemption. While a lot of these themes are tied to specific tracks, the overarching theme is largely the interpersonal relationships that shape every life, and all the complexities that come with trying to navigate them well.
What Seventh Day Slumber models well is that, sometimes, those challenges that crop up are beyond restoration. Because of that, certain tracks hold a seemingly bleak perspective (i.e. “Snake Mouth” and “Some Things Never Change”). That isn’t to say they are negative songs, or that they suggest the “antagonist” should be written off. It’s a very raw display that there are times when the most helpful thing a person can do is to end a relationship.
“Snake Mouth” is an incredibly brazen call-out of hypocritical, legalistic, and condemning ministers. The lack of redemption in the track makes sense, given the context. With rough lyrics paired with punchy instrumentation and a spectacular guest feature from Relent’s Miggy Sanchez, this track puts front and center the appropriate response to ministers of this sort. It brings to mind Luke 17:1-2, in which Jesus says, “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck…” Harsh? Yes. Appropriate? Absolutely. This song pulls no punches and nails its delivery.
The title track bears a feature from The Word Alive’s Telle Smith as a pleasant surprise. The track truly captures the feel of the album: raw, controlled, honest and unrestrained.
Sonically, this is the most polished Seventh Day Slumber has ever sounded, complete with tight riffs, compelling drums, and dynamic vocals. None of this is surprising, considering Kellen McGregor produced the album. Everything sounds so well thought out and is arranged with precision. Weston Evans’s guitarwork is stellar, and his relentless fretwork has helped push Seventh Day Slumber into new territory. Drummer Blaise Rojas pummels his instrument with dexterity and control while also contributing significantly to the writing. Vocalist Joseph Rojas shines, displaying an impressive range. All the pieces of this album fall together wonderfully, and it is delightful to see this veteran band push the envelope of what’s typically expected of a band with their longevity.
As active as Seventh Day Slumber continues to be, who knows how soon they’ll put out a follow-up to Death By Admiration. But what is here is sure to satisfy the eardrums of fans for a long time to come.