Oceans Of Slumber Release Their Great Progressive Metal Offering To The Masses
Oceans Of Slumber (not to be confused with the legendary doom metal band, Gates Of Slumber) are a progressive metal band from Houston, Texas. “Progressive” has become the new catch-it-all descriptor for a lot of modern bands nowadays – as the ability to create music has become more widespread and available, it has caused musicians of all walks of life to band together, often creating a hodgepodge of various styles and influences that perhaps ordinarily, shouldn’t be mixed together. Considering this, it ironically seems relatively difficult to come across any new bands that are actually breaking new ground, as flicking between multiple genres no longer has the shock factor that it once used to.
Saying all of that though, Oceans Of Slumber are the real deal here. The band is comprised of an interesting variety of members, including the former drummer of grindcore purists, Insect Warfare (among many others) as well as a degreed Jazz guitarist and a number of other experienced and educated musicians. This collective of skilled musicians hold a vast cross section of musical preferences between them, which they choose to embrace in a number of fulfilling ways. It’s true that the band’s sense of dynamics really help to strengthen their music, crafting incredibly focused and goal orientated songs. The style changes are deliberate, cohesive and unobtrusive. The songs, while spanning a wide variety of tastes manage to blend together beautifully, into a complex, but delicate tapestry of progressive metal.
Their debut album, Aetherial (released at the begining of this month), is an adventurous undertaking – broad and sprawling in terms of its mood and atmosphere, but yet remarkably tight and consistent in its ability to be provocatively stimulating. The band stick true to their name as they create waves of musical goodness that envelop you and carry you on their journey.
To mix and master the record they worked with titanic UK madman Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, Evile etc.) to perfect their epic wall of sound and truly enhance the Oceans Of Slumber experience. He has to say about the band:
“Oceans of Slumber are of one of the top 10 bands I’ve ever worked with. The perfect mixture of sheer brutality with ultimate musicianship taking you on a journey through music. Old school metal mixed with prog and psychedelia brought right up to date with cutting death metal and black metal influences. All my favourite stuff rolled into one!”
Oceans Of Slumber manage to successfully and comfortable drudge their way through doom laden epics in tracks like “Coffin Like Kites” before switching to a more caustic, country tinged black metal offering in “Primordial” (somewhat reminiscent of the great work by solo black metal artist Panoptican); before shifting gears seamlessly to create a progressive rock anthem that wears its heavy King Crimson influence on its sleeve like a badge of honour for the track “Blackest Cloud“, and then returning to sonic brutality with the impressive title track. The band strive to cross most musical boundaries that are laid before them, and while they are not the first band to do so by any means, it is comforting to see that the band have managed to make it all tie together well. It can be very difficult to find the balance between beauty and extremity and to make everything feel like it belongs together, but luckily this fearless band manages to do just that.
Below is the only track they have uploaded to Youtube to give you a taster of the album. Of course, this isn’t indicative of their entire approach, because the band manage to change it up so much, but it does showcase the bands’ ability for seamless and intelligent musical transitions. “Memoriam” starts with elegantly plucked guitars and the sweeping majesty often reserved for a progressive rock piece before abruptly crashing down with some devastatingly crushing death metal sections. This song effectively comes in waves and successfully barrages you with both genuine emotion and raw intensity. Check it out and support these guys!