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Oceans of Night - The Shadowheart Mirror CD (album) cover


Oceans of Night


Progressive Metal

2.60 | 5 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'The Shadowheart Mirror' - Oceans Of Night (6/10)

Scott Mosher is a musician already fairly established in progressive metal. With a string of solo releases under his belt, he was already an experienced recording artist by the time Oceans Of Night was formed. Collaborating with vocalist Scott Oliva (no, not the singer from Savatage!), Oceans Of Night seeks to move Mosher's music forward. 'The Shadowheart Mirror' is no revelation for progressive metal, but it stands as a strong collection of well- written tracks that probably could have been better.

Although the band self-labels themselves as 'ambient progressive metal', Oceans Of Night are rooted in the sound and tone of classic melodic metal. Power metal may be a good fit for this music, although the ambient angle does come through in the thick keyboard atmosphere. Incorporating slight prog sounds into the highly melodic take on heavy metal, it's clear from the start that Oceans Of Night are placing themselves within a school that's crowded as it is. Where 'The Shadowheart MIrror' lifts itself up however is through the songwriting, which- above and beyond- is the best thing that the album has going for it. Although I've admittedly grown weary of the 'AOR' take on progressive metal, Oceans Of Night have an excellent grasp of melody, and I found myself humming along to many of these tunes by the third chorus. Driving most of the melodies is vocalist Scott Oliva, who has a voice perfectly suited for this sort of music. I could compare him to a slew of legendary metal vocalists; Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, or Geoff Tate. As technically skilled a vocalist as he is, 'The Shadowheart Mirror' does not showcase him as being terribly unique, although his performance here is top notch.

Scott Mosher's contribution lies in the instrumental delivery, and this is where Oceans Of Night's execution gets a little muddy. First of all, Mosher is a great musician, and though he has several instruments to contend with here, he manages to succeed with each of them, at least decently. The complaints I have about the instrumentation don't lie in the way Mosher has played, but rather the way it is recorded. The production on 'The Shadowheart Mirror' is painfully inconsistent. Oliva's vocals and the playful guitar leads are both captured beautifully, and though the keyboards and drums are doused with nostalgic 80's cheese, they're still listenable. Where Oceans Of Night gets hurt badly are the rhythm guitars, and the way they have been recorded. Throughout the album, the rhythm guitar sounds either like it's playing through an amp that's blown, or my speakers themselves have bit it. I checked it a couple of sound systems however, and while the other aspects of Oceans Of Night were coming out clearly, the garbled sound of the rhythm guitar is painful. For audiophiles out there, the blown rhythm tone might be enough to put you off your lunch. It's a real shame too, because the rest of 'The Shadowheart Mirror' makes Oceans Of Night out to be an incredibly capable melodic metal act. While they're not 'my sort of metal' by any means, there is skill with crafting great songs and catchy hooks that lifts the band's work above many of their melodic peers.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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