Arjen Lucassen, the mastermind behind Ayreon, has been hard at work again. In this year full of turmoil and unexpected events, he has bestowed upon us a new multi-media project called Transitus (Mascot Label Group). You see, this is not merely an expertly composed progressive rock-opera with a cast of famous and talented performers. No, this time, we have a visual! Illustrated by Felix Vega, the 25-page comic complements the music and lyrics of the double album and gives the characters more personality. Continue reading
Oceans Of Slumber is still exercising their now-signature Progressive/Gothic Metal style but their fourth album comes with a noticeably different attitude. The music is still eclectic and dynamic though the structural shifts aren’t as abrupt as before. The themes and delivery are still driven by heavy emotions but feel more grounded than the overbearing urgency that came with 2018’s The Banished Heart. This is a decidedly more mature execution, which goes along well with the decision to release this album as a self-titled affair. Continue reading
Ghost Cult caught up with Oceans of Slumber’s frontwoman Cammie Gilbert recently to discuss their upcoming new album, Oceans of Slumber, due out September 4th via Century Media. We discussed the current state of affairs with both the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in their hometown of Houston, their new self-titled album, new sounds and styles the band felt emboldened to incorporate on the records, Cammie’s own background as a singer and her goals for the album, the influence of bands like Katatonia and Opeth, the bands phenomenal cover of Jazz legend Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit”, the bands’ Type O Negative cover of “Wolf Moon”, some love for Peter Steele, and much more. You can pre-order the album here! and check out our chat. Continue reading
Much darker in tone than its ethereal predecessor (both Century Media), The Banished Heart is no less beautiful in its execution. Where Winter would often soar, this record looks inward and deals much more heavily with personal, introspective feelings of heartbreak and loss. Continue reading
Oceans of Slumber’s new album Winter (Century Media) is sort of frustrating. Frustrating like “Wow I’m really enjoying this song” and then one of the novice inconsistencies comes in and I’m punching my fridge repeatedly.
Don’t let me get off on the wrong foot here as there is much talent to be extracted from this young Houston band. For starters they have a vocalist in Cammie Gilbert who can sing. And by sing I don’t mean the metalcore melodic chorus sandwiched between barking verses. Like she can actually fucking sing. Guitarists Anthony Contreras and Sean Gary cleverly find the link between Sabbath doom and Michael Amott shred. Seems like a no brainer, right? Possible album of the month?
Not quite yet. Winter’s title track its follow up ‘Devout’ (and ‘…This Road’) serve as the cover letter to this pretty good resume. They highlight Gilbert’s vocals and pull from various strains of extreme metal and form them into a cohesive and satisfying musical package. ‘Night in White Satin’ comes close to recreating this alchemy, but the repeated hook begins to feel like deadweight. And then what precedes that is my biggest issue with Winter. Interludes.
Never thought I’d ever bring up interludes as a point of contention in a review, but counting outro track ‘Grace,’ there are five of them on Winter. While interludes is a musical trend that many a modern band resorts to (looking at you Between the Buried and Me), by going to that well so often we lose about 10 minutes of quality time with Oceans of Slumber. That’s a shame considering that the band has such a great understanding of light and shade dynamics, so there really isn’t a need for interludes. Speaking of dynamics check out ‘Apologue,’ if you to see what Oceans of Slumber sound like when they leave the melody at home. It’s shockingly heavy.
So not quite album of the month, but they’ve got the tools and with a little roadwork, Oceans of Slumber’s next could be album of the year.
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