Album Review: Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber

Texas-based prog-metallers Oceans Of Slumber continue to stay afloat on opulent fourth album

Album Review: Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Nick Ruskell

In the search for ethereal, proggy metal with bewitching vocals, one would normally be best served looking toward Europe. It would be a long time before you even considered Texas as an outpost for this stuff, but here we find Oceans Of Slumber and their own brand of goth-edged metal.

This fourth album doesn’t see them bringing much new to the table, but it does prove beyond doubt that they are more than capable of making good stuff with what’s already there. Operating on the darker, more minor-key end of the spectrum than the fully-orchestra'd-up pomp-assault of some of their more OTT comrades, this is an album that finds intrigue in dark corners, gothic romance in the night.

Opener Soundtrack To My Last Day starts with a powerful sense of dread, before surging forward majestically, while A Return To The Earth Below is a slower moving giant that casts a dynamic shadow that brings to mind Anathema’s late-‘90s output if you squint at it. And while the folky acoustic strum of Pray For Me sits so close to Opeth’s Harvest it’s practically in its lap, its velvety charm is still alluring enough. It does get a tad one-paced, and the second half of the album especially feels like – admittedly well served – repetitions on the same gloomy, doomy theme, but songs like The Colors Of Grace and I Mourn These Yellowed Leaves are still enchanting enough.

At the end of all this, the closing cover of Type O Negative’s Wolf Moon does feel a bit like having a second pudding after already having five courses and finishing your mate’s main, but you don’t get into this kind of stuff for its lightness, do you. In all, Oceans Of Slumber have done well here, even if it’s a hell of a lot to take in at once.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: Without Face, Opeth, Within Temptation

Oceans Of Slumber is released on September 4 via Century Media

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