Ocean Sleeper – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Album Review)

Ocean Sleeper – Don’t Leave Me This Way
Released: November 8th, 2019


Karl Spiessl – Vocals
Ionei Heckenberg – Guitar and Vocals
Stan Liagourdis – Guitar
Jarred Robson – Drums



Gippsland, Victoria’s very own Ocean Sleeper have been making waves within the Australian heavy music scene over the last few years having played festivals such as UNIFY Gathering (Victoria) and Heartown Rockfest (Taiwan). With the release on their highly anticipated debut album finally on its way after a long wait by fans and industry professionals, it is interesting to see how they have managed to follow through on their impressive debut EP.

Intro track ‘Sleep Life Away’ starts with an atmospheric drum beat with Ionei Heckenberg‘s echoing vocals singing repeating the chorus of the song before Karl Spiessl‘s hard-hitting vocals begin. With intricate guitar riffs and an ever so catchy chorus throughout, this song gives a great taste of what is to come from the entire album. ‘Killing Me’ is next, and it is entirely different than anything this band has ever done before. Beginning with an enticing guitar riff, vocalist Karl gives his vocals a new approach with a raw, higher-pitched sound. The catchy chorus, sung by guitarist Ionei, which is an opportunity where he gets to show off his range as he sings in a higher tone than ever before, which goes to show these guys aren’t a one-trick pony.

‘Light In My Dark’ begins with clean vocalist Ionei singing the ever so melodic chorus that this piece offers. Singing about losing someone you love as they travel and adventure the world (sucks right!). This song sees the band endeavour into new ground as it is the most pop-ish songs they are yet to release and they absolutely nailed it. Instrumentally this song is a standout, the way the tempo ebbs and flows creates an easy listening experience. Finishing off the song is an acoustic guitar as the chorus is softly sung. ‘Hate Me Like You Mean It’ is arguably the albums heaviest song and begins with an alluring guitar riff and fast-paced drum beat as opening lyrics ” here we go again, I’ve taken to failure like it’s apart of me…” are screamed by vocalist Karl. This is another example of vocalist Karl showing off how much his vocal abilities have grown by using a higher range than when we have seen prior to this album. With a breakdown at the halfway point, there is something for everybody in this piece.

‘You’ll Never Know’ begins with an electronic, synth tone before the instrumentals explode begin in and explosively heavy and enticing way. A staple to an Ocean Sleeper song is a chorus which entices uncontrollable head bopping and this song is no different. With the heaviest breakdown this band has produced yet and the lyrics “so mark my words, I will bleed for what I believe” pre breakdown only adds to the already massive atmosphere of the song. ‘Awful Thoughts’ is the albums softest and slowest song. It begins with a slow and mellow lyrics as Ionei sings emotionally provoking lyrics such as “I’ve been living in the dark until now, it’s like I always knew that I would fail somehow”. Unclean vocalist Karl has less than usual input in this piece as he only screams for two verses. If you are a fan of Ocean Sleeper’s track “Another Mistake” from their debut EP, this one is for you!

‘Out of Sight – Out of Mind’ begins with intricate guitar riffs and drums that seem to intertwine together to create an excellent intro to the song. This piece appears to be a slow constant build-up to the breakdown in the outro — a catchy track from start to finish. ‘Save Me’ begins with an incredibly strong drum presence as opening lyrics “save, save me. Drinking down my demons has lost its taste. Don’t leave me this way; tell me that you’ll be there when I can’t see straight.” repeat until the guitars show their presence with heavy riffs. This piece is another strong example of catchy chorus’ that this band loves playing, as they should because they are masters of creating a catchy hook. This song’s lyrics speak of struggles with alcoholism in a strong and direct manner.

‘Running Through My Head’ begins with a plodding guitar riff, which manages to build the atmosphere I feel this band was going for. Both Karl and Ionei manage to intertwine the clean and unclean vocals creating a natural, unforced sound. The song concludes with Ionei’s angelic clean vocals singing the chorus. The introduction to ‘Better Days’ gives off a vibe which is eerily similar to The Amity Affliction‘s ‘Let The Ocean Take Me’ era with a piano being introduced. This song is a fantastic piece to finish the album on as it includes everything that thing band is all about, bursts of heavy instrumentals and vocals as well as incredibly punchy hooks and chorus’. The song’s structure and sound does not stray far from what previous songs on the album but is definitely a highlight of the record for me.

There isn’t much (if anything at all) I would change on this album if it were mine. It has everything this band is known and loved for as well as some new styles and sounds. It will be interesting to see how much this album changes their projection as it gathers traction and momentum with old and new fans.

Light In My Dark - Ocean Sleeper (Art)

Ocean Sleeper – Don’t Leave Me This Way tracklisting

  1. Sleep Life Away
  2. Killing Me
  3. Light In My Dark
  4. Hate Me Like You Mean It
  5. You’ll Never Know
  6. Awful Thoughts
  7. Out of Sight – Out of Mind
  8. Save Me
  9. Running Through My Head
  10. Better Days

Rating: 9.5/10
Don’t Leave Me This Way is out Friday, November 8th via Rise Records. Pre-Order here
Review by Adam Rice @adamrice1994 

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6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Local Supports Announced for Ocean Sleeper Tour! – Wall Of Sound
  2. Ionei Heckenberg – Ocean Sleeper ‘Cautiously Optimistic Of The Future’ – Wall Of Sound
  3. Ocean Sleeper – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 22nd November @ Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC – Wall Of Sound
  4. Wall of Sound presents: “2019 YEAR IN REVIEW” – by Ocean Sleeper – Wall Of Sound
  5. Ocean Sleeper To Support Atreyu On Aussie Tour – Wall Of Sound
  6. Ocean Sleeper Reconnect With Fan Fave ‘Six Feet Down’ – Wall Of Sound

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