CD review OCEANS OF SLUMBER ‘Oceans Of Slumber’

As I wrote in a post the other day, music is about emotions and the expression of those. What could be better in such a context than reflecting on own emotions, connected to personal experiences, and translating those into notes and lyrics. This is what makes a tune and an album tangible and real. It also might connects directly to people with a similar story of life. The reason I’m using this introduction is, because the new Oceans Of Slumber album is such a release that is built very much on such an approach.

As you probably know, Oceans Of Slumber was founded in 2011 in Houston, Texas and it was an album called ‘Aetherial’ that has been the full-length debut. A deal with Century Media paved the way for the band to reach a wider group of metalheads for the next two records, ‘Winter’ and the well-received ‘The Banished Heart’. Oceans Of Slumber could count on a very stable line-up during all these years, a continuity that was challenged in the last two years.

In 2020, Dobber Beverly and Cammie Gilbert are the only remaining band members from the earlier days. The position of guitarist, bassist and keyboarder though had to be renewed, reflecting bigger line-up changes that mainly took place in 2019.

After having decided to move on and after having rebuilt the line-up, Oceans Of Slumber went into the studio again to record album number four, a self-titled longplayer. One could ask the question, why a self-titled album is number four in the batting order of releases. Considering the changes though it feels like a new start of the Texas-based sextet with the longplayer being a debut of a next era.

Musically, Oceans Of Slumber make use of the entire bandwidth of sounds, from gentle and calm to wild and harsh. It all comes together in songs like the epical ‘The Adorned Fathomless Creation’, a track that comes with various layers and twists. Another example is ‘Soundtrack to My Last Day’, a dark and oppressive opener that in various ways sets the tone of voice for album. Not to forget is ‘Pray For Fire’, a powerful and at the same time melancholic anthem with great hooks and good sense for melodies. ‘Pray For Fire’ is one of the best tracks on a record that isn’t sparing with great tunes.

And there are tracks like the piano-based ‘September (Those Who Come Before)’, being a calmer moment on the album that breaks the usual pattern in a good way. It’s a counterpart to the heavy riff eruptions and deep growls, both returning with ‘Total Failure Apparatus’. ‘The Red Flower’ shows a next nuance, Oceans Of Slumber adds to the variations of sounds. A dark atmosphere covers the song in shades of melancholic grey with an hypnotic musical backbone that gives you the shivers. Last but not least ‘Wolf Moon’, the closer of the album, that reminds with its slow riffing and heavy pounding song structure in parts of the mighty Type O’Negative.

‘Oceans of Slumber’ is the beginning of a next era of a band that presents itself with re-gained strength. The six guys from Houston found the sweetspot of heavy, fierce, dark and emotionally touching, all good pillars for a great album and a brighter future in emotional darkness.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Soundtrack To My Last Day
  2. Pray For Fire
  3. A Return To The Earth Below
  4. Imperfect Divinity
  5. The Adorned Fathomless Creation
  6. To The Sea (A Tolling Of The Bells)
  7. The Colors of Grace
  8. I Mourn These Yellow Leaves
  9. September (Momentaria)
  10. Total Failure Apparatus
  11. The Red Flower
  12. Wolf Moon

Label: Century Media

Genre: Dark Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: September 4th, 2020

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