Oceans of Slumber – Winter (Century Media)

Genre: Progressive Metal

Every so often a band like Oceans of Slumber comes along and knocks you off your feet. Not many metal acts could reinterpret Nights in White Satin (adding blast beats to its mid-section) and pull it off. These Texans do – and the cover is a perfect example of why Winter is one of 2016’s highlights so far. Cammie Gilbert’s sultry, impassioned singing, the expressive axework of Anthony Contreras and Sean Gary, Dobber Beverly’s expressive, dexterous drumming… these are magic ingredients which, when combined, take your breath away.

Oceans of Slumber have deep roots in extreme metal (Beverly, for example, manned the kit for grindcore heroes Insect Warfare) and those influences reveal themselves in tracks like the supercharged Apologue… yet the band’s heavier leanings are perfectly balanced with stirring melodies and moments of profound beauty: Lullaby, for instance, is exactly that, with Gilbert’s voice seemingly wrapping your soul in soft velvet.

And when the singer adds more drama, more guts, to her performance, the results are just as astounding, as Suffer The Last Bridge demonstrates. It’s an anthemic song driven by pure rock power, and is an arena classic if ever there was one. To follow it up with the wistful Sunlight is further proof of this band’s majestic songcraft.

Winter is a milestone in progressive metal, make no mistake and whatever your musical allegiances, you’d be a fool to let it pass you by.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9.5/10 Winter Warmer