OCEANS OF SLUMBER - The Banished Heart
March 2, 2018, 3 months ago
Houston prog-metal band Oceans Of Slumber have always been an impressive outfit, the ambitious songwriting, always enjoyable riffing, and killer drumming combining to make even their most morose songs a pleasure to listen to. And third album The Banished Heart is definitely morose, make no mistake: opener “The Decay Of Disregard” is nine minutes of pure misery, but apart from a couple sudden jarring musical left turns, it’s a journey worth taking, and one that is more therapy than wallowing. The extreme vocals don’t even come in until the second song, and when they do, the band evokes classic Peaceville doom but manages to mesh it with the smoother sounds led by vocalist Cammie Gilbert.
Sometimes when octopus drummer Dobber Beverly starts blasting away it creates a bit too much of a jigsaw sound, although given the genre, that’s not a huge surprise, and his playing is always a delight to listen to, regardless. The title track shows the band slowing things down to a sludge bpm, with Beverly’s kicks, some tasteful piano work, and Gilbert’s soaring voice—which has never sounded better than on this song and the haunting “Howl Of The Rougarou”—leading the song through some great ups and downs. “A Path To Broken Stars” shows off the great guitar/drum interplay that all good prog metal has, and Oceans Of Slumber most certainly has. The Banished Heart is a denser, heavier, and more emotionally draining, and rewarding, offering than the band’s previous albums and is well worth the considerable investment involved in spinning it.