Oceans of Slumber – Winter

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/Label: Century Media
Released: 2016
Buy Album: http://www.cmdistro.de/Item/Oceans_Of_Slumber-_Winter__-_Gatefold_black_2LP-/2681
Band Website: http://oceansofslumber.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/oceansofslumber

Oceans of Slumber

Band line-up:

Cammie Gilbert: Vocals
Anthony Contreras: Guitar
Sean Gary: Guitar
Keegan Kelly: Bass
Uaeb Yelsaeb: Synthesizers
Dobber: Drums

Tracklisting:

1. Winter
2. Devout
3. Nights 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

Review

Oceans of Slumber’s music plays out as a mish mash of different genres all thrown together; which is hardly surprising given the backgrounds of the band members, ranging from genres such as grindcore and jazz. Now the Houston sextet are back with a follow-up release which shows them pushing their progressive prowess towards a colder terrain with ‘Winter’.

The male and female duality in vocalists is nothing new in the metal genre. But this is an area that Oceans of Slumber excel in. Right from the outset of ‘Winter’, Cammie Gilbert delivers soulful passages in her voice. The melodic rock tendencies weave in and out as the track takes a surprisingly aggressive turn with deep throated growls that show the band comes with a serious bite.

‘Devout’ wastes no time serving up a more gritty display of metallic force. The heavy drums and impressive finger tapping give way for the band’s more experimental song writing to come into full effect.

The record remains engaging for the duration. With the cathartic tone of ‘Suffer the Last Bridge’ and the impressive vocal range in the blissful ‘Sunlight; a track that shows melody and angst working harmoniously together.

Standout track, ‘Apologue’ is a real head turner. Full of merciless drums, tortured vocals, and a heavy guitar stomp it’s one that is guaranteed to send fists flying at live shows.

While many ideas on the album remain loyal to the aesthetics of progressive metal, several flaws disrupt the listening experience. Primarily there are too many instrumentals; most of which feel out of place and fail to integrate into the main body of the record itself. They feel like detours that may sit better as a side project or as a stand alone EP. Also, there seems to be an over indulgence for melodrama in tracks such as ‘Nights In White Satin’, which starts off promising, but falls head first into lyrical clichés.

Oceans of Slumber display an unparalleled conviction in what they do, and their ambition is clearly present on this thirteen track odyssey. Despite suffering from a few ideas that don’t quite gel too well together; their drive and sincerity are what make them memorable. ‘Winter’ is clearly an important destination for them and the record’s heart wrenching anthems will no doubt sway most modern metal fans. Promising stuff.

Review by Ben Spencer
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