Oceans of Slumber is the much-anticipated follow up to 2018’s well-received The Banished Heart,
Oceans of Slumber’s progressive metal takes in elements of doom and Gothic metal to produce music that hits a lot of emotional highs, while still having kick where it counts. The band combine heaviness with ethereal beauty. Some of the classic ‘beauty and the beast’ style from the 90s is present in the juxtaposition of deep growls and clean singing, but rather than be a throwback to earlier times it’s been updated for 2020 with expressive progressive potency. Also, as the growls are few and far between, this is only one aspect of the band’s sound.
These songs are well-written examples of how to combine the epic theatrical accessibility of the Gothic and symphonic styles, the weight and power of doom, the exploratory nature of progressive compositions, and the timeless power of metallic might. Guided by a very powerful and talented lead vocalist, Oceans of Slumber’s music has an emotive strength to it that’s lacking from many ostensibly similar bands. The end result is something quite special.
These songs are richly melodic and powerfully wrought. With a duration of 72 minutes it’s a lengthy album, but the potential downsides of such a long duration are negated by quality songwriting, diversity of delivery, and first rate songs that all fit nicely together. There’s a sterling Type O Negative cover at the end of the album too.
All of the band members know their roles very well, and the music has been carefully crafted to balance style, depth, feeling, and atmosphere. Every instrument contributes to the overall strength of the songs, although the singer’s exquisite voice is undeniably a focal point in the music, and her performance throughout is exemplary.
Well, I had high hopes for Oceans of Slumber, and I have not been disappointed. In fact, it’s safe to say my expectations have been exceeded; this is a superlative album, one that improves on the already impressive formula that the band had established so well on The Banished Heart. Oceans of Slumber finds the band tightening their songwriting, while expanding their range. The album is simply better than what came before it, and better than most other offerings in this style, (and many others), this year.
Essential listening for any fan of melodic, progressive, well-written metal.