Review Summary: Can you still the stars through layers of grey
Or have the city lights taken their place?Aeolian
was originally intended to be part of a double album with Fluxion
is the straight forward metal monster compared to the prior disc’s more, at times, subdued experimental songwriting and atmospherics. The Ocean ran out of funds to produce the double disc so each was split and released as two separate albums. In some ways this hurts the overall sound but each one stands well on its own.
Robin Staps, the brainchild of the ever rotating cast of members writes all the songs and music which he then teaches to the current lineup at the time. Members are welcome by Staps to interpret what has been written. The band also uses a variety of guest vocalist on this disc, Nate Newton (Converge), Sean Ingram (Coalesce), Tomas Hallbom (Breach) which rounded out a total of 7 singers including The Ocean member Meta. The idea was to prevent monotony from only hearing one type of singing or voice in contrast to the diverse musical structures and passages, which was a complaint from fans on Fluxion
. Though most of the vocals heard are not singing so much as a variety of guttural barking, growling and maniacal screaming.
The lyrics are mostly aquatic based focusing around various ocean related situations. Songs like Necrobabes.com
and Dead Serious and Highly Professional
are quite a different story showing a quite twisted view which I’m not quite certain if it’s supposed to be ironic or very dark humor. With lyrics like; “I'll f**k your dog/ Do you still wanna get along with me?/ I'd rape your daughter/ On payment of a small fee,” it’s difficult to decide what they’re really going for. The City in the Sea
is an interpretation of an Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name, although it’s basically the poem set to driving palm-muted riffing with plenty of drum breaks and tempo changes.
The music is so dense it would be tough to slice with a sword. It’s not so much music sometimes as a goliath pummeling you into oblivion. The guitars are tight and shred your ears with incredible precision, the bass is equivalent to an earthquake and the drumming is so intense I don’t know how it’s kept up. The instrumental work can be quite technical but at the same time uncontrolled. The styles run through death metal, metalcore, doom and even some hardcore punk. Some of time signatures and abrupt changes they use are so off kilter that even after listening to this for more than a year I still can’t remember all of them.
Quiet passages are rare but when they surface it is a welcome respite from the continuous assault. The percussion is one of the highlights of the album simply because it is so consistent and powerful; drummer Torge Liessmann makes it seem easy as he pummels on the double kick bass. There are no rules, which is evident throughout the 50+ minutes this album brings forth. Drum breaks, erratic tempo changes, jagged staccato riffs and randomly played licks are all presented where and whenever the band feels. There really aren’t any clear solos on the entire disc but listening to the fret work it’s obvious they could unleash one at will if they desired. It’s apparent from the start their M.O. is more about overall sound than highlighting any instrument in particular, in a word it’s savage.
It’s a challenging listen but for fans of doom type music it will be immensely enjoyable just to hear a band be as heavy as they can without sacrificing creativity. The problem with the album is the same thing that makes it stand apart; many people will hear the possessed vocals and musical insanity taking place and just become lost in the tsunami. Fog Diver
would be an easier place to start although after listening to the latter, this album will sound minimalistic and uninspired in a sense when comparing the two. While Fluxion
contained the more experimental passages this one is the pit bull latching onto your throat and never letting go.
One With the Ocean
Queen of the Food-Chain
Killing the Flies