Review by Erik Svensson
Sleeping Lions is the fourth album by Otherwise, the band’s third album to be released by Century Media Records on September 22.
Sleeping Lions is a hard album to pin down, because Otherwise finds their sound somewhere between a multitude of contemporary hard rock bands. Almost every song feels as if it was written as an anthem, reminiscent of many other bands like Daughtry, Three Days Grace, Nickelback and others. Other songs like “Angry Heart” feature moments that are similar to nu-metal.
“There are no fictional storylines or tough-guy rhetoric in any of our tunes,” says frontman Adrian Patrick in a press release for the album. In the title track, “Sleeping Lions,” however, the band is likened to sleeping lions not to be awoken and references “where the rivers run red.”
The album also finds slightly softer spots in songs such as “Suffer.” Overall the music is inoffensive and vaguely catchy, but its vagueness also makes it hard to pin down. This can be both a weakness and a strength for the band. The similarity to other bands can make it boring for those who don’t care much for the genre, but its differences may be what those who enjoy it are looking for in the music Otherwise emulates.
The instrumentals and compositions are impressive, including bells on some songs. The album features excellent bass and guitar work, and some impressive solos and riffs, such as on “Sleeping Lions,” but ultimately offers nothing new or interesting enough to fully immerse the listener in any real emotional revelations.
Likewise, the production of the album is impressive. The mastering of the album makes the instrumentals blend well with Patrick’s vocals, with small effects such as bells chiming in and fading out while feeling like a part of the whole song being put together.
In terms of tone, the album seems to hit the mark set by the band, but still fails to evoke any real emotion. The lyrics sometimes mention emotional topics, but do little more than scratch the surface.
“As artists, evolution is the lifeblood of creativity,” said Patrick. The irony in this is that the album does little to show any evolution on Otherwise’s part. Both musically and lyrically, there is little noticeable difference from past works, including their 2012 release, True Love Never Dies.
Sleeping Lions is a perfectly fine release in the lineup of Otherwise’s previous work, but does little outside of some small nu-metal style breakdowns and instrumental flourishes to distinguish itself.
Instrumental Skill: 8/10
Overall Impact: 5/10