Despite the initial foreboding that can come when approaching an album of songs clocking in at over 8-minutes in length each, Oceans Of Slumber‘s latest full-length effort ‘The Banished Heart’ is an extremely interesting experience into how inclusive and story driven music can be.
While there’s no flare or overtone given to a single instrument, they always add to the theatrical experience providing added atmosphere and confrontation. The central focus is on the vocals of Cammie Gilbert, and the instruments create the mystery around the ebbs and flows of blasting metal beats and screams, to acoustic interludes with angelic vocalisations.
‘The Banished Heart’ is an excellent showcase of how to create atmosphere and the live experience while being sat at home on your couch or on the bus ride to work. The instruments have a distant and lighter feel that you would be unlikely to find in most other places, and the aim seems to be to give the listener the feel of an actual theatre with the vocalist sat central and the grand opera around them in an amphitheatre setting.
Songs are interspersed with electronic interludes to ensure some breathing space, and accompanying these are piano and operatic spaces to create a juxtaposition against the dark thematic background of the record. These then immediately launch back into an aggressive or confrontational epicentre that hits the heights of any classical crescendo.
As operatic as this album is, it’s no Shakespearean sonnet; it focuses on the bleak tragedy of relationships, and the withering emotions that come from it. It delves into the obsession, revenge, and possessive cycle of emotions that come from heartbreaks, and confronts the listener with what could be their own experiences.
The album’s titular track is certainly the most accomplished, and encapsulates how much variety there is to behold here. It starts with a slow stomp of drums and guitars, escalating steadily by adding extra layers of background instrumentation which increases the intensity. This then cuts out to a light piano section with violins and angelic vocals, and from there a gradual increase up to an epic climax that ends to flow into an atmospheric solo piano section.
‘The Banished Heart’ is extremely well written and recorded, and is certainly an album built more to take time aside to fully immerse within as opposed to a casual listen. Those who give it the time it needs will reap the rewards tenfold.
Written by Ryan Cherry (@intherye)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. | Aspiring freelance pizza eater.