OCEANS OF SLUMBER Announce Dark, Cinematic New Album

OCEANS OF SLUMBER
Reach Dark Cinematic Heights on
Where Gods Fear to Speak

New single “Poem of Ecstasy” stands tall as its own mini metal epic
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Oceans of Slumber – “Poem of Ecstasy” (Official Music Video) 2024
Though they proudly hail from the fiery heart of Houston, Texas, Oceans of Slumber are always pushing toward the next frontier. Back in May, while on tour with Lacuna Coil and New Years Day, the band gave a first glimpse at their upcoming sixth album with a spellbinding video for its boundless title track.

Today, Oceans of Slumber are pulling back the curtain even further by officially announcing Where Gods Fear to Speak, which was produced by GRAMMY nominee Joel Hamilton. The album’s second single, “Poem of Ecstasy”, breathes new life into the metal scene by remaking a timeless story in their own dark cinematic image.

Watch the grim-but-glowing performance video for “Poem of Ecstasy”

https://youtu.be/oBtRRdYZvxU

Where Gods Fear to Speak comes out September 13 on Season of Mist. 

Oceans of Slumber defy any and all conventions. For the past 15 years, the band have redefined the Southern Gothic by casting their tales of hope and despair against an ever-shifting backdrop of melodic death, doom and black metal, with subtle electronic flourishes and classical composition added for good measure. But their new album expands their progressive vision to the hi-def scope of a Hollywood blockbuster. Each song acts as another gripping plot twist along its grand narrative arc.

Where Gods Fear to Speak exists somewhere between The Handmaid’s TaleThe Dark Tower and Cormac McCarthy”, Dobber Beverly says. “It’s part science fiction, part western gunslinger with a heavy dash of post-apocalyptic survival”.

Of course, no movie is complete without a compelling soundtrack. “Poem of Ecstasy” splices together so many stand-out scenes that it could spin off as its own mini-epic. We open on frontwoman Cammie Beverly, doing vocal runs in the moonlight cast by a twinkling piano, only to cut from outlaw country to doom-laden power metal and what can only be described as “dystopian grindcore”.

“Every time you make a new record, you think it’s the best,” Dobber continues, “but ‘Poem of Ecstasy’ is easily one of the best songs we’ve ever written. It sounds like an energetic, pissed-off-band, with enigmatic storytelling and all those magical things”.

Performing such a radical play on extreme metal requires a talented cast of characters. Having already toured the world with Enslaved, Ne Obliviscaris and Swallowed by the Sun, Oceans of Slumber are well-acquainted with metal’s biggest stages. Even the most obscure corners of the underground recognize Dobber as the drummer for grindcore legends Insect Warfare, but he’s also a classically trained pianist who composed all of Where Gods Fear to Speak. His Necrofier bandmate Semir Ozerkan adds heat with harsh backing vocals and warm but bruising bass fills, as co-guitarists Alex Davis and Chris Kritikos roar through the mix like a sandstorm, though everyone cedes the spotlight to the band’s leading lady.

I’ll do everything to stay by your side“, Cammie belts. Her cleans push back against the charging blast beats like a force field, but while she only gains strength from sinking into the profane depths of her newly anointed death growls, there’s still a feeling that something deep inside is holding her back. “And I’ll do anything except stop what I’m chasing“.

On the album’s title track, Oceans of Slumber banged heads with the religious institutions that loomed over their formative years in Texas, but “Poem of Ecstasy” has them fighting on a different kind of battlefield. “All of the songs on Where Gods Fear to Speak are set in this futuristic, derelict world, where the lower class are rebelling against their overzealous rulers”, says Cammie, “but ‘Poem of Ecstasy’ is the album’s big no-holds-barred love song”.

The musical tug of war that rages throughout “Poem of Ecstasy” — between unrelenting heaviness and subdued introspection — mirrors the struggle of its hero. When writing the lyrics, Cammie was inspired by Blade Runner and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. “Sometimes, we’re so hellbent on pursuing our dreams that we lose sight of the people we’re fighting for”, she says. “How can you save the world if you can’t even save yourself?”

Not every movie has a happy ending. While plenty inspired, Cammie’s last words on “Poem of Ecstasy” ring out like a cry for help. “Save me / Save me from myself”, she sings, climbing into the tender reaches of her upper register, as pounding drums and tendriled riffs threaten to drag her down into the song’s fiery crypt.

You’ll have to wait and hear the whole album to find out whether our hero survives this cliffhanger. But for now, one thing is already clear: with Where Gods Fear to Speak, Oceans of Slumber have recorded their masterpiece.

The visuals for the “Poem of Ecstasy” video were created by Masaya.

Oceans of Slumber – “Where Gods Fear to Speak” (Official Music Video)
Tracklist
1. Where Gods Fear to Speak (6:25) [WATCH]
2. Run From the Light (5:15)
3. Don’t Come Back From Hell Empty Handed (8:28)
4. Wish (3:53)
5. Poem of Ecstasy (6:33) [WATCH]
6. The Given Dream (3:36)
7. I Will Break the Pride of Your Will (5:27)
8. Prayer (5:03)
9. The Impermanence of Fate (6:20)
10. Wicked Game (5:26)

Style: Dark Cinematic Metal
FFO: Jinjer, Lacuna Coil, Ne Obliviscaris

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Photo by Zach Johnson
More than a decade has passed since the release of Oceans of Slumber’s Aetherial debut album, and a lot has changed. After recruiting Cammie Gilbert (now Beverly) in 2014, the Houston, Texas crew’s trajectory took a natural, upward tilt, fueled by the hugely positive response received by second album, Winter (2016). Masters of dark-hearted brutality and gritty, melancholic song craft, Oceans of Slumber transcended the usual genre limitations, favoring a progressive and boundary-less approach. With each successive record, the combination of founder, drummer, pianist and chief songwriter Dobber Beverly’s brooding, dynamic onslaughts with Cammie’s charismatic presence and elegant, sonorous vocals garnered widespread acclaim and an international fan base. Monuments to a restless creative spirit, the band’s third and fourth albums, The Banished Heart (2018) and Oceans of Slumber (2020) raised the stakes ever higher.

Nobody said it was going to be easy, however. Buoyed by the praise of critics and the love of increasingly rabid admirers, Oceans of Slumber proved true to their progressive reputation when they released fifth full-length Starlight & Ash in 2022. Although still palpably drawn from the same well of dark and daring influences that had informed previous records, the new songs were pointedly bereft of the crushing metal tropes and elaborate song structures of old. Instead, Oceans of Slumber stripped things to an ornate and earthy take on gothically-inclined songwriting and melancholy modern prog. Starlight & Ash was praised in metal and prog media, but drew the ire of the band’s big label paymasters, who were rather unimaginatively hoping for more of the same. Reaching an impasse, band and label parted ways, leading to Oceans of Slumber’s newly-forged relationship with the notoriously open-minded Season of Mist. Now armed with a brand new studio album, Where Gods Fear To Speak, these intuitive radicals have gone where they will be understood.

“The thing is, we never said we’re never going to do something heavy again,” shrugs Cammie. “People panic when a band puts out an album that does something different. It was a weird time. It came during a time when our music was different from everything else, and I think the record was a bit lost on some people – people that mattered in our realm. The fans got it, and it was received really well, just not by the label!”

Starlight should’ve been an easier way for us to branch out to a different audience,” adds Dobber. “But the label didn’t care and we didn’t try to capitalize on it. With Where Gods Fear To Speak, every time you make a new record, you think it’s the best, but there’s a couple of songs on this record that are definitely the best songs we’ve ever written, easily. There’s an energy to them that’s palpable. It sounds like an energetic, pissed-off band, with enigmatic storytelling and all those magical things.”

Recorded in Bogota, Colombia, in 2023, Where Gods Fear To Speak is a multi-faceted entry into Oceans of Slumber’s burgeoning legacy. Many of the melodic and textural elements that made Starlight & Ash such a revelation are still present, but scabrous brutality and complex, cultured arrangements are back with a vengeance. With Cammie’s astonishing vocal blend of vulnerability and abominable power, these songs are the best possible showcase for a band on an unerring mission to win the world over.

“I think Cammie is the best singer in America by far, but if she’s at such a top level and we still can’t break through, that just means that if we want to stay where we are, we’ve got to work harder!” Dobber admits, candidly. “We know how good we are, and how good the music is, but it doesn’t pay off for us all the time and the new record reflects that. It’s aggressive, it’s aggravated, but it tells a story. The closing song, “Impermanence Of Fate” – that’s the tag. It means that what you have it isn’t a fatal flaw or a mortal wound, and you can change things and work around these setbacks. So a lot of this record is fight songs.”

A colossus in both conception and execution, Where Gods Fear To Speak eschews the usual modern metal sounds in favor of an overwhelming, wall-of-sound production. As songs like the thunderous title track and the grim and sprawling “Don’t Come Back From Hell Empty Handed” cast their meandering, malevolent spells, every instrument leaps out with laser-like clarity, and the vast, emotional heft underpinning Dobber and Cammie’s lyrics is brought rivetingly to the fore. Meanwhile, standout gems like “The Given Dream” and “Poem of Ecstasy” showcase Oceans of Slumber’s still-evolving core sound, with soaring melodies and jaw-dropping dynamics that casually blur the boundary between the accessible and the avant-garde, while basking in the brooding glow of Cammie’s unique voice. Produced in collaboration with esteemed studio guru Joel Hamilton at Audovision Studios in Bogota, it emerges as a self-evident labor of love for all of those involved.

“We did the most extensive pre-production demoing that we’ve ever done for this record. Everything was finished, the vocal lines were 98% done in advance,” Dobber notes. “Then we got into the studio and I threw curveballs at Cammie to piss her off and get her to land these certain vocal sections. There has to be some element of this that is created in the moment. It’s not magical otherwise. I did all the synthesizers and orchestrations at home, but then we recorded the rest of it at the studio in Colombia. Joel’s done a lot of work with big hitters, but also with Neurosis and bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. So when I said we were going to make a heavy record, I wanted it to sound like all hell’s breaking loose. We wanted a very natural production and for everything to be as organic as it could be.”

From the doom-laden opening chords of “Where  Gods Fear To Speak” – released as the album’s first preview single, and revealing Cammie’s feral death growls for the first time – to the dying, desolate embers of grand finale “Impermanence Of Fate”, the new Oceans of Slumber album is simply the most immersive and fascinating piece of work the band have made. As added intrigue, guest stars Mikael Stanne of Swedish melo-death legends Dark Tranquillity, and Moonspell’s iconic frontman Fernando Ribeiro lend their vocal talents to “Run From The Light” and “Prayer” respectively. Steeped in the oppressive atmospheres of doom, death and gothic metal, but rendered using a spinning kaleidoscope of progressive musical shades, Where The Gods Fear To Speak idly defies categorization, while strenuously redefining the artistic formula that Oceans of Slumber have spent so many years refining. Meanwhile, these songs paint such vivid pictures that it comes as little surprise that Where Gods Fear to Speak is a certified concept work, with a cinematic streak a mile wide.

“This album is a dystopian western or a post-apocalyptic survival movie, somewhere between The Handmaid’s TaleThe Dark Tower and Cormac McCarthy,” states Dobber. “The whole idea is that Where The Gods Fear To Speak is a movie, and we’ve written the soundtrack. If the world was taken over, like in movie The Book Of Eli, and Gary Oldman had found the Bible and the true power of it, and he was wielding the power of the lord over everybody, those people that were maybe just into their traditional spiritualism or people that were not religious at all, they would be the defectors, so the record is written from the viewpoint of the defectors. The ending credits are our version of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. We wanted to take it back to when the music in movies set the tone for everything.”

Wildly evocative and bulging under the weight of its countless razor-sharp melodies, Where Gods Fear To Speak proves that Oceans of Slumber will not let the occasional setback put them off their creative stride. Both the heaviest and the most sophisticated record they have made yet, it covers all bases to deliver an emotional, life-affirming musical journey like no other. Some people will love it. Others may not. But what is abundantly clear is that Oceans of Slumber remain a formidable force to be reckoned with, and When Gods Fear To Speak may be their masterpiece.

“We just hope to grow the band. We’ve had a problem with reaching the next level, but I’m hoping this record makes the difference, and people just give us a shot,” Dobber concludes. “The band is great and it’s tight, and Cammie is such a great performer. When people really get to see the real thing in front of them, which they don’t a lot of the time, it just works, intrinsically. There’s just a natural response to it. So if we can get in front of the audiences we should, then we’ll win them over and the band will grow. That’s all we want. It’s a mechanism for survival at this point.”

Lineup
Cammie Beverly – vocals
Dobber Beverly- drums, piano
Semir Ozerkan – bass
Alex Davis – guitar
Chris Kritikos – guitar, synth

Recording
Audiovision Studios in Bogotá, Columbia
Assistant engineering at Audiovision by Deyra Castillo and David Dueñas Piña

Production
Produced and engineered by Joel Hamilton
Mixed by Joel Hamilton at Studio G in Brooklyn, New York
Additional engineering by Chris Kritikos
Assistant engineering by Justin Termotto

Artwork
Giannis Nakos – Remedy Art Design

Biography
Dom Lawson

Follow Oceans of Slumber
https://oceansofslumber.com/
https://oceansofslumber.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/oceansofslumber/
https://www.instagram.com/oceansofslumber/?hl=en
https://www.youtube.com/user/oceansofslumber
https://open.spotify.com/artist/2JSza6IRxLr1Ez3wqKd0SY?si=aWrsTRHCSCemMNRQaSk5tw

Pre-order & Stream

https://orcd.co/oceansofslumberwheregodsfeartospeakalbum

Available Formats
Digital Download
CD Digipack
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Black)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Translucent Red)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Translucent Clear)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Orange with Black Splatter)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Translucent Orange)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Color-In-Color Translucent Orange)
2X12″ Vinyl Gatefold (Color-In-Color Translucent Red)