Review by Ryan Murray | September 1, 2020 | Official Facebook
Progressive metal band Oceans of Slumber, from Houston, Texas are releasing their self titled album “Oceans of Slumber” this Friday, September 4th 2020!
This band has a unique sound that I absolutely love! While there is definitely a progressive metal feel to it, there are some elements of death metal, straight up hard rock and a melodic ballad feel at times as well. This is not your average, run of the mill progressive metal album, so get ready for some surprises!
Their press release states that “Oceans of Slumber” is a work that takes us on a journey to the inner struggles we all face, as well as the societal struggles we all face. There are cycles that hold us down and tear us apart, some that even give us anguish. The release also states that at some point we need to stop running from the pain and the truth that is brought about by these struggles. We can find peace in the light of this reflection.
I had the awesome privilege of listening to this album in full prior to its release, and I can say that it’s an amazing journey! The power, emotion, rawness and strength gets a hold of you. Musically and vocally, this band is really well balanced! Everything from the band being really tight musically, to the blend and balance of the mastering/mixing, this album is set to go far with this lineup!
My thoughts on the album are below.
The Soundtrack to My Last Day
This opening track is powerful. It starts out with just an electric guitar riff, but is quickly joined by pulse pounding drums and more distortion. And I absolutely love the time signature in parts of this song! The 7 feel really makes this song unique! There’s some heavy growling vocals as well with some pretty hard grooves.
While there are some really heavy parts on this track, the light and pulled back sections are beautiful and add such emotion.
Cammie’s vocals throughout most of the song are light and beautiful, but full of emotion. However, the power of her voice is shown at 5:39!
“Here I stand!
The greatest hope
The great equalizer
The queen of the lost”
There is one line that REALLY stood out to me.
“In death, we are all equal”
This is such a powerful statement. To me, death is described as the “great equalizer” in this song. With so much division and hatred going on in this world currently, we need to see that we are all human. We need to be a voice for those who can’t speak and for those who are being silenced. We need to view those around us, no matter what color their skin is, no matter what their sexual orientation is and no matter what their beliefs are as equals.
Pray for Fire
This song brings it down a notch with an acoustic feel to start. When Cammie comes in at :36, she starts out light and airy, but slowly builds and builds throughout the song. The song gets a bit heavier as it progresses. Absolutely love the atmosphere that’s created on this track! Also, the drum fills are tight!
The emotion and power behind this song really hit you hard. Just read the lyrics and listen through it, you’ll see what I mean.
To me, this song is about praying for hate, inequality and racism to burn and to come to an end by any means necessary. With all of the hatred, racism and bigotry all over the world, it’s so easy to feel like you’re among thorns everywhere, and because of that, the climb to equality is a never ending up hill battle. This song is a cry to burn all of this to the ground.
“Dying and alone
My roots are buried deep
But here among the thorns
The climb is much too steep”
A Return To The Earth Below
This track starts out with kind of an eerie synth atmosphere. The vocals start off with a lot of power right from the first lyric and don’t stop all the way through the track. They only continue to grow. Even in moments when they are pulled back, the emotion is still just as powerful.
The drums on this track are insanely good, especially in the beginning. Dobber really smoothly sits in the pocket, even during some pretty complicated fills.
This song, to me, is about the inner struggles that we all face. At one point in our lives, we all face the fear that we aren’t good enough. We feel defeated by everything and everyone. We feel a hopelessness that eats at us to our core. We spend our whole lives running away from ourselves and allowing these lies to consume us. Instead of running into the darkness, we need to stand in the light. If we look inwards and face our fears head on, we can actually find an inner peace.
“I have spent my whole life running
And I have tried, I have tried to flee from myself
I could never, no I could never weather the storm
That was rising, rising, rising from within me
It doesn’t matter the time in between
Darkness carved its mark in me
Carved its mark in everything
But I’m done, I’m done running,
I stand in the rain
Here I stand
Purge my fear, and make my claim”
This epic instrumental track, for me, really nails it. Starting out lightly, this track quickly builds in both volume and emotion. The dynamics really make this track even more powerful and meaningful.
Close your eyes while listening to this one. After just finishing a song about the inner struggles we face and the peace that comes from facing those struggles instead of running from them, this song, to me, encapsulates that victory of finding inner peace. Even if only for a moment in time before the world starts kicking us down again.
The Adorned Fathomless Creation
It’s time to pick it up again with this track, which immediately starts with a punch to the gut. With growls and distorted guitars, this song hits hard right off the bat.
From blast beats to Cammie’s vocals getting soulful at times, this track has an awesome mix of heart pounding metal and a more laid back almost soulful feel. Overall though, this one is aggressive to its core!
To The Sea
This track starts out with bells tolling, then a lightly distorted guitar comes in with an amazing solo which actually lasts awhile and sounds amazing!
Cammie’s vocals are once again really powerful throughout this track.
This song, to me, is about the battle against time. The calling of the bells, to me, is like a timer on our lives. A timer that is counting down until our last breath. Once we die, the ground ‘holds us’ and becomes ‘an ocean of slumber’ in which we’ll sleep forever. We need to spend our time wisely while still alive. We need to spend time doing things that are of importance and will make lasting change.
“The ground, it holds you in
An ocean of slumber
Forever you’ll sleep
But I’m there too, dreading
The longing of those days gone by”
The Colors of Grace
This track has a more laid back sound, but the vocals are still just as powerful! This track also has an old school Lacuna Coil feel! Don’t let this more acoustic-like track fool you! It’s still really powerful, especially with the male clean vocals that harmonize throughout certain parts!
This song is honestly one of my favorites.
To me, this song talks about the power depression and a lack of self worth can have over us. Everyone faces the sting of regret and failure, some more than others.
During my junior and senior years in high school, I faced a really bad depression. In my senior year, it got so bad I stopped going to school for over a month before I could make myself go back. After I left school after my senior year was complete, things got a little easier, but still had this weight of depression pulling me down. In 2008, I became a Christian and my life has changed so much. I bring this up because, while we all have something or someone that we find peace in, my peace is found in God and the grace that He provides me. It’s because of my faith that I have found true peace and true joy.
“Holding on to everything you say
Cause’ your words they paint a picture of me
A beautiful one of what I could be
If I’d simply learn to shake away the blame
You save me from myself
You save me from myself“
I Mourn These Yellowed Leaves
Starting with just keys, followed by drums and distorted guitars, Cammie comes in nice and strong. Heavier distortion kicks in at about 2:17 and is met with some heavy growls at 2:26! I really like how Cammie comes in with the growls at 3:21.
I really like this song and had to listen to it a few times in a row because it kept drawing me back.
This song, for me, is about the seasons we go through in life. We all have our highs and we all have our lows. During those lows, it’s really easy to feel like falling wet fall leaves. Countless leaves fall from trees and coat the ground and eventually completely dry up and die. At our lowest, we feel like we can’t make it anymore. We feel as useless as leaves covering the ground.
But for me, that’s not the end. Fall is actually my favorite season. One reason is that even though leaves die and fall, they grow back again. In our lowest moments, we have the opportunity to face our low point head on and to grow back better than we were before. There’s so much we can learn in these moments and in these seasons.
“The fires lit, night is now drawing in
We’ve settled down to try and warm ourselves
Everything’s dying now, only to be reborn again
But now we must wait, the seasons can’t be rushed”
Another beautiful instrumental. This one is mostly just keys and strings. The strings from 2:50 and on are simply amazing. Go ahead and close your eyes and listen to this track beginning to end.
Total Failure Apparatus
This track opens with strings creating an ominous atmosphere, but is then met with growls and distorted guitars. This song has a lot of death metal elements with fast trigger blast beats and in your face guitars and growling, but also has some really nice pulled back sections as well.
For me, this song is about those dark and lonely paths we sometimes find our selves on. Sometimes, the right road to take is the hardest one to travel. You run into obstacles everywhere you go and get knocked down at every turn. When you’re on the right path, you have to persevere because getting knocked down will happen frequently, especially when fighting for what’s right.
The Red Flower
This track is pulled way back. An almost dirge-like track is filled with many references to infertility and possibly even the “unwanted seedlings” of rape?
This track is steeped in emotion and heartbreak that is palpable even just at the surface. The more you listen, the more you feel the anguish.
The final track and a Type o Negative cover! Musically, not too much was changed, but I really like the crunchy distorted guitars in the OoS version! It’s got a more heavy and full sound! Cammie’s vocals sound amazing as well, and I really like her interpretation of the lyrical melody!
I have to give this album a 4.9 out of 5! Though Oceans of Slumber is a progressive metal band, they are so much more than that as well! This album doesn’t fit into any one specific genre. It really blurs the lines of genres quite nicely! “Oceans of Slumber” is without a doubt a must hear masterpiece that doesn’t follow most genre-defining rules!
“Oceans of Slumber” is out this Friday, September 4th 2020, don’t miss it!