If any album title perfectly encapsulates where a band is at when they release a record, it’s Sleeping Lions– the third release from Otherwise.
This is a very different Otherwise than we’re used to and the band is in a completely different place than they were with 2015’s Peace At All Costs, with bassist Tony Carboney and drummer Brian Medeiros coming in while Corky Gainsford (drums) Andrew Pugh (guitar) and Vassilios Metropolous (bass) exiting the band, the latter of which exited shortly after their previous record.
With Pugh leaving, it leaves just Ryan Patrick as the sole guitarist, which automatically makes for a change in dynamic. A lot has changed with the band and it’s been three years since the last studio record, so the title of Sleeping Lions has never been more telling of what you’re getting yourself into when you listen to this album.
Sleeping Lions sees Otherwise going down a heavier avenue from the very onset of opener “Angry Heart,” which has one of the catchiest choruses and backup vocal lines Otherwise have ever written. Right away, we’re off to a hell of a start.
This takes us into the title track which goes hand-in-hand with the opener for a two-punch combo that is hand-designed for the live stage. “Sleeping Lions” and “Angry Heart’ are two of the fiercest tracks the band has to offer yet and singer Adrian Patrick’s vocals has more powerful than ever.
They slow it down next with “Suffer,” which is a fast-paced ballad that has some of the most beautiful lyrics we’ve heard from Otherwise. While Patrick’s voice can blow you away and destroy you with it’s dominance, he can also soothe you and bring you to near-tears and that’s what we get with “Suffer.” It’s a heartfelt cry of passion and is down the perfect road for fans who have been there since True Love Never Dies.
They keep the momentum going with two scorchers in “Nothing To Me” and “Weapons,” before slowing it back down with “Crocodile Tears,” a blazing ballad that’s one of the most memorable the band has written yet.
From here we get “Dead in the Air,” “Beautiful Monster” and “Blame,” which are three of the strongest tracks on the album and flow together so perfectly it’s almost overwhelming. These three have some of the most energetic and cutting of the album before ending the record on an even stronger note with “Bloodline Lullaby.”
In the end, Otherwise have broken their silence and put together a piece of art and collection of songs that show exactly where they were when they sat down to write. The title is a perfect explanation of what Otherwise is all about. The lions have been awaken and now there’s no stopping them.