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Oceans of Slumber - Winter

Oceans of Slumber
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 May 2016, 9:51 PM

OCEANS OF SLUMBER is a Progressive Metal band based out of Texas, USA. “Winter” is the band’s third full-length album, and contains thirteen tracks, with a total running time of 59 minutes. The title track, “Winter” has a soft opening with voice and guitar, and is eventually joined by the rest of the band. From start to finish the song keeps building on you. The strength and versatility of Cammie’s clean voice is the constant in this piece, which is murky and bereaved in the most beautiful way possible. The vocals fry were also a surprise, and they along with a lot of minor chords contribute nicely to this feeling. “Devout” is a bit shorter. The mystery and suspense are held in high regard in this despondent sounding song, and those blast beat drumming passages gut your very soul. It’s like seeing the face of an angel on the body of the most hideous beast that Hades has to offer.
“Nights in White Satin” is indeed a cover song, originally recorded by THE MOODY BLUES. I appreciate how they keep the song true the original form, which I am sure was challenging to resist the urge to super-Prog it, considering the band’s impeccable musicianship. “Lullaby” is a short, two-minute offering that begins with acapella singing that eventually rings over bass guitar notes which support her sublime voice with a darker agenda. “Laid to Rest” is a handsomely sorrowful acoustic guitar instrumental acting taking the form of an epitaph. Though it is short, it whisks you away into its sound as the world around you fades away. “Suffer the Last Bridge” is simply another winner. This time, Cammie has a pronounced soulful aspect to her vocal delivery, and the intricacies of the music are perhaps bested only by the total accessibility of this song. Sometimes, Progressive Metal done at a high level can often leave the simplicity of good hooks in the dust, but that is clearly not the case here.
”Good Life” is another brief instrumental, and as with the others, has its own unique identity. I hear piano, synth effects and a flute leading the sound. It has a somber feeling but also seems coiled like a snake that you think is sleeping, eyeing the perfect time to strike, though in the end it does not lash out. “Sunlight” seems to be a cathartic exercise and toggles between the light and dusk of your emotional experiences. It’s like being at sea in a small boat heading into threatening waves in the distance. “Turpentine” has an opening ethereal guitar riff where the reverb creates an atmosphere of mystification. When the other instruments kick in, it’s all about a commanding power structure, and heavy accents of bliss. “Apologue” by contrast hits you hard from the opening notes. The blast beat bass drumming and angry vocals fry are back as well, giving the song a husky and dangerous backbone. The extended instrumental sections really highlight the bands musical prowess.

Another instrumental, “How Tall the Trees,” has an upbeat melody to start, like looking to the sun peak through the canopy of leaves, then suddenly turns dark with a heavy and sinister metallic resonation. “…This Road” opens with a haunting piano melody and soft vocal lamentations of “You Know Where This Road Leaves.” It isn’t long before it takes on a more serious tone however, and it closes with a nice crescendo. The final song is the piano laden instrumental entitled “Grace.” A classically influenced concerto, you will marvel at the finger-work. In sum, “Winter” is a multifaceted and ambidextrous plate of Progressive Metal that has some of the most diverse and eclectic songs that I have heard on one album. The really enticing thing about the album as a whole is how dynamic and complex it is, yet it retains a listenability that would appeal to a wide variety of Progressive and Metal fans. It’s simply one of the most uniquely pleasing albums I have heard in a while.
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Winter
2. Devout
3. Knights in White Satin
4. Lullaby
5. Laid to Rest
6. Suffer the Last Bridge
7. Good Life
8. Sunlight
9. Turpentine
10. Apologue
11. How Tall the Trees
12. …This Road
13. Grace
Cammie Gilbert – Vocals
Dobber Beverly – Drums and Piano
Sean Gary – Guitar and Vocals
Anthony Contreras – Guitar and Vocals
Keegan Kelly – Bass and Vocals
Uaeb Yelsaeb – Synthesizers
Record Label: Century Media Records


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Edited 28 September 2020

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