It is a true rarity, but also a pleasure, to find a band where the members’ playing intertwine so effortlessly that it becomes the listening equivalent to watching a beautifully choreographed dance. That is not to say that there aren’t moments of spontaneity to be found either. There certainly are– particularly in the more aggressive moments of the record on tracks such as Winter.
The opening track Winter demonstrates the sour and sweet sounds that Oceans of Slumber brings together seamlessly. The clean vocals by vocalist Cammie Gilbert bring a hauntingly beautiful sound to the band while the occasional heavy vocals by guitarist/vocalist Anthony Contreras contrast her sound to keep things interesting. The instrumentals generally fall to the wayside until the middle of the track when the guitarists and drummer reveal their ability to produce sheer brutality.
Lullaby, while short, highlights Gilbert’s compelling vocals and begins a capella. It then gently eases into smooth guitars. It’s just short enough to leave you wanting more. It leads into an equally short, guitar-focused track, Laid to Rest. Listeners will find several of these condensed, but intriguing tracks tucked throughout the 13-track album.
The band has said that Winter is a concept record based around themes of woe and despair. Suffer the Last Bridge is one of the many stand-out tracks that exemplifies this. Eerie and blues-style vocals are paired with harsh, battering guitars to create a hypnotic contrast.
Oceans of Slumber clearly have a firm grasp on the formula to creating dark, brooding music while seizing some of the best traits from both rock and metal. They are progressive—sort of a progressive rock with some harder, grunge-like elements that border on metalcore at times. The music they create is atmospheric, intoxicating and, entertaining on every level.
Prepare yourselves…Winter is coming!