Review Summary: Tonight we celebrate the human stain.
If there was ever a band who defined the characteristics of how it must feel to be out sailing a vast seas, the music of The Ocean would have to be the soundtrack to it. Powerfully imposing, forever expanding and contracting then subsiding and lulling you into a false sense of security before reminding you who is really in control.
Trying to explain the sound of The Ocean is difficult enough on its own. It has always been a combination of many genres all thrown together. Looking at the ingredients on paper it should never work, but somehow it does. Orchestral passages give way to ferocious metal flurries which then segue way into calm ambient breaks. If your first introduction to the band was with Aeolian or Precambrian then you have an idea of how things work. However things are a bit different here mainly because of the heavy influence and use of the orchestra. Yes the Proterozoic disc did have many uses of various orchestral moments, but it’s not used to the same degree here where the various instruments are given more time and freedom to create atmosphere and accompany the rest of the music. The songs are set up more as film scores than metal juggernauts.
Tracks like Nazca
are a hurricane swirling around destroying everything in its path, then the eye of the storm hits and it’s calm, peaceful, and even serene. It almost makes you forget the other end of the storm is on its way. The Human Stain
follows in similar suite but vocals are introduced. On previous albums there were no real vocals and on later releases there are many guest vocalists, here it is only members of the band. The vocals are never sung, only growled and roared, particularly at the moments when the music becomes increasingly intense. There are only a couple exceptions which would be Isla Del Solo
and The Greatest Bane
which find a few cleanly sung parts which are nicely done. Lyrically there is a fascination with the increasing distancing of humans from reality as technology advances forward, as well as the seemingly incessant need to buy unneeded things.
Not all of the songs have quiet moments but in comparison to Aeolian, which was a draining experience because of the continuous fury, Fluxion provides many chances for the listener to catch their breath before being pulled underneath the surface again. The music is unpredictable, sometimes it takes you right where you think you’ll go and other times places you never thought it would. It’s a refreshing listen for anyone looking for a band not interested in following the norm. Could it be compared to Neurosis
? Of course, but it’s not really what they’re going for. Prepare to be taken in by the ocean’s wrath and enjoy every minute of abuse.
4 - 4.5