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Don’t Sleep on Oceans of Slumber’s New Song, “A Return to the Earth Below”

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Oceans of Slumber’s The Banished Heart, released in 2018, ended up being my 10th most favoritest album of that year based on the nebulous, ever-changing and ultimately arbitrary criteria by which we evaluate such things. Silly rankings aside, this much is certain: it was a phenomenal album. What’s more, it was an under-appreciated one: I feel like it should’ve gotten a whole lot more love from Intronaut and Opeth obsessives the world over.

The tide seems poised to turn with the Houston outfit’s just-announced self-titled album. Its first single, “A Return to the Earth Below,” has already garnered quite a bit of attention from throughout the metalsphere, and with good reason: it’s an absolutely phenomenal track, engaging and engulfing from the very first note. It’s an interesting choice for a first single given it’s a slower, more introspective track than much of the band’s material, but it’s no less dark, and vocalist Cammie Gilbert’s performance here is absolutely arresting. If this track is any indication, Oceans of Slumber will be every bit the career-defining moment self-titled affairs purport to be.

Gilbert offered the following on the confluence of the rising Black Lives Matter movement and the release of “A Return to the Earth Below:”

“Within ourselves, just as within our societies, there are cycles that need to be broken. Cycles that hold us down, that tear us apart, that give us anguish. Sometimes without warning these cracks surface and they trigger a cascade of emotional vulnerabilities, emotional turmoil, even hopelessness. But at some point we must stop running. Stop running from the pain, stop running from the truth, stop running from ourselves. In the light of this self reflection is where we will find peace, both inwardly and outwardly. ‘A Return To The Earth Below’ is about that journey. It is about the collision of the heart and mind in struggling to find that internal resolution. We feel that the timing of this single couldn’t be more appropriate, as we have all found ourselves at the crossroads of change.”

Oceans of Slumber is set for release in September 4 via Century Media; pre-order here.

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