A very favorite band of mine returns with a new album, just two years after the amazing “The Banished Heart”. During a short period of time, Dobber Beverly (drums, piano) became the only original member that remains on the band, as he saw three founding members leaving for their own reasons. But he and Cammie Gilbert (vocals) won’t stop that easily.
With four new musicians in their line-up, the six-piece band from Houston, Texas seems to have a lot more to offer. The fact that they decided to give their name to the fourth full-length of their career, probably indicates some kind of a new beginning in their musical journey. “Oceans Of Slumber” may last seventy minutes, but by no means did I find it too much or tedious. And this is said by someone who usually loses interest in releases with such long duration.
In this particular album the progressive metallers seem to focus too much on the atmosphere. All the tracks are atmospheric, calm and intensely emotional with soft guitars and melodies on which the phenomenon Cammie has a memorable performance. Of course, there are also extreme metal outbursts, with death metal structures and growls, but the general direction does not change since their use is not as intense as in previous releases. Even Dobber has…calmed down and his drumming is more restrained than ever.
Of course, we are not talking about something one-dimensional or monotonous. The band once again puts in many different influences and creates a unique and enchanting result in which the listener will experience many emotions. Remarkable is the participation of Mick Moss (Antimatter) in a duet with Cammie and the result is the wonderful “The Colors Of Grace”. There is also a cover of their favorite “Wolf Moon” from Type O Negative, who had performed live in our country in their one and only appearance so far.
The sound is flawless and better than ever, mixed by the legend Dan Swanö. As for the masterpiece cover of Giannis Nakos (Remedy Art Design), I think the words are unnecessary. This guy is one of the best for this job and his work matches perfectly with the direction of the album’s music.
In conclusion, “Oceans Of Slumber” is a progressive rock/metal album that continues the upward and interesting journey of the band. The term progressive can now be applied to anyone who plays differently, simply because you cannot describe it otherwise, but the Texans deserve it without a doubt. One of the top releases of this year.