Progressive metal quintet Oceans Of Slumber has certainly gained a lot of attention in the last few years leading to truly high expectations for the long awaited new album “The Banished Heart” which showcases a profoundly darkened essence also inspired by the band’s personal emotional turmoil.
On “The Decay Of Disregard” a mellow melodic piano piece and ambiance layers introduce a series of sharp blackened guitar riffs which will gradually acquire polished technical prog dynamics within an ever-changing rhythmic ensemble that still preserves a whirlwind of authentic emotions expressed through complex melodic passages and Cammie Gilbert’s passionate vocal performance while the whole instrumentation is perennially channeling darkened feelings.
“Fleeting Vigilance” immediately favors melancholic melodies with minimalist slow guitars that will undergo a blackened evolution leading to darker harmonies and significantly heavier rhythmic patterns while Cammie’s spellbinding voice continues to create ethereal emotions and graceful melodic quality in contrast with fierce growls through meticulously elaborate prog inspired tempo & style variations.
The title track favors refined melodic textures with poetic quality as the rhythm gets slower to enhance the emotional intensity of Cammie’s voice in the midst of doom & gloom atmospheric nuances that will acquire the absolute spotlight with the addition of several elegant melodic piano passages evoking heartbreak and pure melancholy that will inevitably move the listeners.
“Etiolation” holds a doom essence that influences every rhythmic pattern providing extra darkened crunchy tones for the primary & heaviest guitar riffs amplified by furious growls and thunderous drumming but the song still fully embraces an understated melodic pathway often embellished by fancy prog accents and technical skills.
With a fierce guitar driven beginning “A Path To Broken Stars” conjures a dark soundscape blending again minimalist doom oriented tonalities and loads of prog twists provided by intriguing guitar work and while there are many heavy segments Cammie’s voice focuses more on the creation of delicate harmonious moments.
With an immensely sorrowful mood “No Color, No Light” will immediately stand out for the exquisite vocal duet between Cammie and Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund that constantly enrich the melancholic fragile guitar melodies and provide extra emotional depth to the doom style desolation of guitar passages and cathartic atmospheric arrangements.
Due to the untamed desire to explore diverse music territories and the consequent predilection for intricate textures “The Banished Heart” is probably not an album for the masses focused on easy melodic hooks nevertheless it is still an accessible music experience and there will be listeners willing to get lost in the unconventional sonic labyrinths and the extraordinary emotional journey skillfully crafted by Oceans Of Slumber.