Oceans of Slumber is a progressive metal band from Texas that surprised me. Winter, an album ironically named after something not experienced in Texas, is an album of strange character coming from one of metal’s premier labels. Rather than fitting into any of the expected “surefire” categories produced by most labels these days, Oceans of Slumber walks its own path. Their sound is best described as a combination of melodic death, doom and black metal influenced by the Century Black roster circa 1998. Winter blends that with a sadboy metal and an alternative rock base making the album beautiful, mysterious, and oddly chaotic. It’s also really good.
German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell is one of heavy metal's masterminds, thanks to his spiraling playing techniques, which helped Pell remain a mainstay in the hard rock genre for decades. His first band, Steeler, kicked off a career in Europe during the early part of the '80s, issuing three albums (1984's Steeler, 1985's Rulin' the Earth, 1986's Strike Back) prior to 1987's Undercover Animal, which signaled the beginning of Pell's solo career. This professional jaunt allowed Pell to fully expose his riveting playing power and collaborations between he and other musicians. His 1989 album Wild Obsession showcased ex-Steeler bassist Volker Krawczak and vocal charm from Charlie Huhn, but 1991's sophomore effort proved Pell's determination.
Welcome to P52, Prog magazine's second cover CD for 2017. You don't get much bigger than Steve Hackett, here with Hungarian jazz band Djabe, lending a new twist to Steve's own The Steppes. Or Oceans Of Slumber, who boldly take on the Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin in emphatic style. Or Japan/Porcupine Tree keysman Richard Barbieri, with new, jazz-flecked solo fare, and of course Touchstone and Ghost Community, who weigh in with some grand, melodic music. Elsewhere, the UK's Beatrix Players add melancholic beauty, and Multi Story complex intrigue. New Australian bands Anubis and Hemina show there's some exciting new music being made Down Under, and Jug Bundish do the same for Costa Rican prog.