October 3, 2020 Oceans of Slumber – Oceans of Slumber (Album Review)
Formed in 2011, out of Houston, Texas, Oceans of Slumber is a Doom Metal band unlike any other. Fronted Cammie Gilbert, who shares vocals with Guitarist Alexander Lucian and Bassist Semie Özerkan, the band is rounded out by Mat V. Aleman on keyboards, Drummer/Pianist Dobber Beverly, along with Guitarist Jessie Santos. Officially Beginning their journey with the release of their 2013 album Atherial, in their own words, it all truly started with the arrival of Gilbert for their 2015 Blue EP. Catching their stride, 2016 saw the release of their Winter album, and now four long years later they return with their anticipated fourth album.
A self- titled effort, released through Century Media Records on Friday, September 4, 2020, the cover art by Giannis Nakos really captures the depth and darkness of the story within the music. Something to marvel in before even pressing play, it all begins with the prodigious song “The Soundtrack To My Last Day” where unraveling guitar and crackling drums dance behind the stirring, airy voice of Gilbert. With slow-building escalations, the track enters a tone of potency and foreboding driven by masculine growls, an annihilation of drums, and the low, ripping hum of bass.
Following next, “A Return to the Earth Below” unfolds with the clear percussive rings and the decay of whispering melody. Here, Beverly’s piano work sways behind Gilbert’s voice, quieting into synth briefly before the song awakens, unleashing a torrent of passionate truth.
Jumping forward slightly, the tolling of a bell on “To the Sea” simmers with bluesy guitar and sorrowful piano. It explores loss and moving fourth through life while a soaring chorus. Then a stirring classical style guitar introduces “The Colors of Grace” which is also highlighted by a beautiful duet with Mick Moss of Antimatter. This is while “I Mourn These Yellowed Leaves” takes upon a lush, fearless mood with rapid fire drums and mystical synth while the lyrics paint a portrait of mother nature and destruction.
And there is still more intrigue to come with “Total Failure Apparatus” as varying of soft, multi-layered refrain and wicked, inky guitars and bass accompany both vocals building a feeling that is both stygian and empyrean. This is before “The Red Flower” offers a dark, evocative composition of heavy piano and crashing drums leading into an inimitable cover of Type O Negative’s “Wolf Moon.”
Overall, the eclectic inspirations of Oceans of Slumber ring throughout this album. While the group might be categorized as Doom Metal, in execution, their sound is entirely unique and inimitable. Gilbert presents a goddess-like presence with an unconquerable voice and a lyrical prose flooded with lines such as “In death we are equal/In death we will stay.” Entrancing you with guitars that are often gloomy and foreboding, like a thunderstorm they are heavy and unyielding, but also have intervals of shimmering acoustics/classical melodies. This, matched with accenting piano and synth, the powerful mix of instrumentation are the backdrop for an exquisite album. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars.