Review Summary: The storm was about to swoop down on us, and already the sky was growing dark, overcast in a black almost as hideous as the human heart.4 of 5 thought this review was well written
Before the sprawling concept albums Precambrian and Fluxion/Aeolian, The Ocean released this EP of instrumental tracks that hinted at what the possibilities of the future and solid time as a band could bring. While the EP is only 5 songs it’s longer than some bands full albums clocking in around 30 minutes with 2 tracks nearing the 9 minute mark. As with Fluxion these song structures, at their base, follow more of a subdued serenity then build to a crescendo of fury before it all comes crashing inward.
The title track catches you with an aggressive riff that commands your attention and holds on before slowing and bringing in a change of pace to keep things fresh. Not every track follows this pattern; Endusers
is calm watery passage that never feels like much more than drifting along with the tide. The Ocean tries not to make every song sound too similar frequently changing how the songs are structured. Some bands rely on the soft-loud-soft or loud-soft-loud format so much that the music is dull or predictable by the time you get a few tracks in. The use of dynamics is beautifully done along with interesting guitar melodies, drumming that contains many varying patterns and bass lines that can stand on their own. The best example of this is The Long Road to Nha Trang
. It shows aggression, restraint and once the ambiance hits you’re thinking, “Ok here comes the obligatory wall of fury raining down on you”, but not this time. Out of nowhere you get bitch-slapped by a catchy piano roll with a rumbling bass drop.
The creativity shown on this album is stifling and is a great introduction to the band without the barbaric vocals turning away some listeners since the only vocals found here are sound clips placed underneath the instrumentals. The sparse use violins and incorporation of orchestral instruments not normally found on metal records conveys a willingness to experiment with their sound without reaching pretentious levels. It’s not the cutthroat frenzy and range of styles found on Aeolian/Hadean or the grandiose instrumentation of Fluxion/Proterozoic but it doesn’t get weighed down by its own aspirations of what it wants to or could be. It’s focused; striving for originality and usually achieves it.