Review Summary: "Ocean Roar" encompasses all things Mount Eerie, and stands tall as one of Phil Elverum's finest achievements.
Trying to pen one’s thoughts on any Mount Eerie endeavor is a labor that is of equal parts love and pain. You see, Phil Elverum, has been making obfuscating music under the moniker for years, with each release being vastly different from its predecessor. Whether he’s dabbling in folk or black metal, Elverum is impossible to pin down, especially into a mere collection of words. Added to that, within each album lies a carefully plotted world that only Elverum himself knows how to trek. Lyrics and melodies are deceptive; seemingly simple but confounding and deep. Despite all of this unpredictability, Mount Eerie has become a beloved staple, churning out some of the most interesting and challenging music out there. Ocean Roar
, the newest release, encompasses everything that Mount Eerie is and has been, whilst throwing in a few surprises as well.
The conclusion that most people will immediately come to in regards to Ocean Roar
is that it has much in common with 2009’s Wind’s Poem
. While both albums feature some of Mount Eerie’s most atmospheric work to date, they are not as similar as one might think. Sure there is an oppressive feeling thanks to some overt “heaviness,” but there is no mistaking that Elverum was trying something much different this time around. Ditching the black metal influences, some of Ocean Roar
feels somewhat like Mount Eerie’s version of post metal. A few songs are crushingly dense, heavy with distortion, and largely lacking vocals. This is a drastic change of pace from this spring’s Clear Moon
. Where that album was a return to form of sorts, this album is another plunge into murky experimentation. As a whole, it pays off exceptionally well.
, as the name might suggest, contains with in it an audible interpretation of the ocean. Elverum does a fine job mimicking the crashing of waves, with a good portion of the album displaying the power and vastness of the ocean. Yet not all of the record is dedicated to this sound. While “Waves” and “Engel Der Luft” are oppressive, the remainder of the record is quite calm. “I Walked Home Beholding” and “Ocean Roar” are two of the album’s most lulling tracks, featuring a sound more reminiscent of Clear Moon
. Vocals are brought to the forefront on the aforementioned tracks, and while they both differ vastly from much of the rest of the record, they fit the overall feel very well.
Mount Eerie’s latest endeavor is yet another adventurous bout into experimentation that displays why Phil Elverum is one of music’s most astonishingly brilliant minds. Once again he fearlessly challenges himself and comes out on top, as Ocean Roar
is one of his finest moments as an artist. It is both gorgeous and fearsome, and one couldn’t ask for anything more.