I have a 50/50 status with progressive metal but Texas’ own Oceans Of Slumber has everything I expected within the genre. This band came out of nowhere after hearing multiple tracks from 2016’s sophomore release of Winter which was absolutely incredible start to finish. Two years later, they’re back with full force to create the most emotional and powerfully crafted albums the band has done to date with 2018’s Century Media Records effort of The Banished Heart. From the gothic/doom guitar riffs, ambient and flourished keyboard melodies, periodic blast beats to the heartful and calming vocals, this album is filled with raw and pure emotional values as the member’s contributed a well driven storytelling album that is insightful and yet captivating.
Songwriting is a massive improvement over Winter with the lyrics capturing a much more aggressive and slower paced driven atmosphere surely takes your breath away while this record particularly focuses more on atmosphere, progression and strong craftsmanship. Fortunately enough, The Banished Heart retained the same surface on past records as the first half boasts off-the-cuff structures and more aggressive instrumentation while the second half is much slower paced and based more on subdued atmospheric layouts. Songs like The Decay of Disregard for example demonstrates a steady foundation where the instrumentations are properly placed in the corrected order while the vocals from Cammie Gilbert serves as an emotional unifier.
The secondary half of this album is where it flows naturally and becomes more attached to the listeners heartful and sorrowful experience as the track No Color, No Light” particularly standing out for the stirring duet with Evergrey vocalist Tom Englund who’s harsh singing and Cammie’s vocals combined not only makes the song extremely tragic but that being said all of their songs display a more technical approach with their inclusion makes sense when you consider the band’s more extreme roots, but at this point, I surely cannot help but wander how far they’ve matured as a group. The Banished Heart is an acquired taste for progressive metal that’s not only very demanding album but ultimately rewarding, if you’re fans of their last records and enjoy Paradise Lost, Opeth , Lacuna Coil and Draconian, Oceans Of Slumber’s The Banished Heart is a album you should definitely give a chance to listen.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Jake Butler