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Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber

Oceans Of Slumber
Oceans Of Slumber
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 15 November 2020, 2:18 AM

OCEANS OF SLUMBER is a Texas based progressive metal band that fuses together doom, Gothic, and just about any other style you can think of.  As such, despite not having a bad album yet, their sound has always come off as messy and disjointed.  I’ve been a fan on and off for a few years now, not fully diving into some of their releases but enjoying others.  While their  self titled fourth full length album sounds somewhat more cohesive, it still sounds like a band that has yet to find its footing.  With that being said, the band has once again put out an album that is worthy of diving into its murky depth for.

A fair warning: with twelve tracks and a running time of an hour and eleven minutes, this album is a beast to handle.  While their sound does lend itself for the need of longer journeys, I question why such an already long album was given a cover track. It is actually a great cover but by the time it is reached, exhaustion has long set it and interest has waned a bit. While there isn’t a bad song on the album, it is one that is hard to get through from beginning to end and is best enjoyed in some does of a few tracks at a time.  Fortunately, there are many great tracks to choose from.

Prior to this album, the band’s two guitarists and bassist quit. Surprisingly enough, the band actually sounds rather comfortable with each other despite such glaring changes. The opening track “Soundtrack To My Last Day,” is on point and a fine example of how good the band is when they focus a little more.  Doom riffs open the song before it fades into clean instrumentation and clever drumming.  Cammie’s vocals, as always, are the stuff of dreams:  killer tone, a fine balance, strong and forceful yet lithe and emotional. Despite the rest of the band’s obvious talents, much of their success rides upon her stratospheric vocals and for good reason.

Musically, the song alternates between atmospheric doom, sleepy and ethereal passages, and even some clean guitars. At the song’s halfway point, the band’s darker side kicks in, complete with brutal but crisp drumming and death growls.  I do like how the band doesn’t rely on this format throughout the whole album—they forgo the “beauty and beast” style and instead let each type of voice shine singular in the moment.

Pray For Fire,” begins as a sweeping, autumnal song with Cammie’s vocals as gentle as falling leaves as winter comes in to take away the foliage. I love how, as the song gets heavier, Cammie’s vocals get more throaty, dense, and husky.  The song ends up turning on a dime, thrashing outward at a million miles per hour as the death growls return. “To The Sea,” shows yet another side of the band and comes off as one of the album’s best tracks.  Piano and beautiful guitar licks open the song; the clever use of cymbals gives the feeling of music that is washed in the tender languish of waves as they give way to the land ahead.   Then the bass drops the hammer and the song gets a sort of quiet intensity that grows.   Such a lovely, well written song.

The Colors Of Grace,” is a ballad of sorts, featuring a duet with ANTIMATTER’s Nick Moss. I'm not familiar with that band but he does a good job here, especially towards the end when the song gets very doomy—both their voices work so well within the parameters of the song. It is a tame song, even when the distortion kicks in, but has a quiet intensity that bubbles beneath the service. “I Mourn These Yellow Leaves,” is perhaps the best song on the album.  The keys, combined with Cammie’s voice, create a rising action in the song’s early moments that explode with a much heavier contrast and some great death growls. When the band is on fire, they are really burning bright—this song is another example how well they meld doom with other styles.

The album has a late game heavy hitter in the form of “Total Failure Apparatus,” which balances out the fragility of the final (not counting the cover) track, “The Red Flower.”  The former throws in the death growls early for a song that jumps straight into the fire and fleshes itself out later. The tracks middle portion is exceptionally well done, what with the melodic guitars and Cammie singing her ass off. The latter is a vehicle for Cammie’s pipes and she does give quite the show.  Musically it is somewhat sparse but the ambiance serves its purpose well and I found that it gives a nice ending to the album.

All in all, though I feel the band still wanders a bit aimlessly, this self titled album is solid and a definitely step in the right direction for the band.  I can’t wait to see how they use this album to set the stage for future releases.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Soundtrack To My Last Day
2. Pay 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 (Type O Negative cover)
Dobber Beverly – Drums, Piano
Cammie Gilbert – Vocals
Mat V. Aleman – Keyboards
Semir Ozerkan – Bass, vocals (Additional)
Jessie Santos – Guitars
Alexander Lucian – Guitars, Vocals (Additional)
Record Label: Century Media Records


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Edited 05 December 2020

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