Texan crew Oceans of Slumber are pushing progressive metal beyond its boundaries, planting fierce female vocals into unfamiliar territory and kickstarting a creative outlet for singer Cammie Gilbert that she always desired.
I’m much more claws and fangs than feathers and flowers
“I grew up singing along to everything and anything – my father was a church choir director for my mother’s choir,” Cammie tells Hammer. “I took my musical upbringing for granted. I went to other people’s houses wondering why everyone else didn’t sing while they’re having dinner!”
Despite testing her range through her early years in gospel choirs, Cammie suggests her natural instinct had other ideas and lead her to explore the realms of Pantera and Alice In Chains.
“I’ve always been attracted to strong theatrical female vocals like Shirley Bassey and Etta James, but in my mind I wanted a powerful metal band behind me. They lend themselves well to each other, the heavy riffs blend well with my emotional inflections.”
It was this sonic climate change that led Cammie to meet Oceans Of Slumber drummer Dobber Beverly at a local show and make her dream a reality.
“I was a fan of Oceans before I joined, so I’ve found the right home for myself musically,” Cammie says. “They’re a well-oiled machine and I came into something that already had a lot of work put into it. I’m the fancy paint job at the end!”
Cammie openly relishes the challenges and expectations that face any female vocalist in the male-orientated prog world. “People imagine girly and angelic when they think of female-fronted, but that’s not me at all. I’m much more claws and fangs than feathers and flowers. I didn’t think being the only girl would bother me at first, but when Simone Dow from Voyager joined us on tour, it was so nice to run off and giggle about something!”
The band’s second album, Winter, is a thoughtfully crafted intense prog experience offering more than an unconventional outlet, placing Cammie’s polished, diverse chops within its emotionally rooted structure and embracing their new guise with open arms.
“It’s not necessary for us to break down boundaries,” Cammie emphasises. “We’re giving people an escape, a vessel for catharsis. Our music is heavy and it comes from a painful place, so we’re showing our scars so that people can show theirs, too. There’s a place where you can feel at home, and it’s with us.”
Winter is out on March 4 via Century Media