Review Summary: The stars are fading away...11 of 12 thought this review was well written
Back when The Ocean was actually a “collective,” they were a much more exciting band. Not to say Heliocentric
are bad albums because they’re not, but when compared to their first three albums they sound like a completely different band. Gone were their dense walls of sound, wide array of vocal styles, and overall it felt as if a certain weight to their sound was missing. Maybe that has more to do with the production, but my point is early The Ocean albums were massive. I don’t just mean massive in a balls-heavy musical sense, but also the feel
of the albums helped you become completely encompassed in the atmosphere. The most massive of them all and in general one of the dirtiest, sludgiest, and sickeningly heaviest prog metal albums ever recorded is 2006's Aeolian
The Ocean constantly barrages you with influences ranging from Meshuggah, to Converge with borderline Between the Buried and Me-esque spastic song structures, and even entering grind territory at the most appropriate times. Not one band before them managed to pull that many influences cohesively (key word cohesively
) into a metal record with such fine results. What’s more impressive is how none of the album’s 53 minutes are boring. Even the weakest song ‘Necrobabes.com’ has enough experimentation going on to make it worthwhile, and it also happens to feature some of the most interesting lyrics on the album:
You're my fetish
My favorite toy
Pierced with needles
I'm sure you'll enjoy
Gagged and hogtied
Spanked and caned
I'll always savour
your grace in chains
And they only get more disturbing from there. ‘Dead Serious & Highly Professional’ comes at a close second with its unsettling lyrics;
I'll fuck your dog
Do you still wanna get along with me?
I'd rape your daughter
On payment of a small fee
Ah, classical poetry at its finest.
As entertaining as the lyrics are, the true strength of The Ocean lies in their instrumental proficiency. Torge Ließmann is an absolute beast of a drummer, and musical extraordinaire/The Ocean-mastermind Robin Staps creates some of the most dynamic riffs in all of metal. Whereas metal is primarily about the riffs, the vocals are in the forefront for a majority of Aeolian
. This is more than likely due to the seven vocalists featured on the record. Yes, seven vocalists, including some big name artists like Nate Newton (Converge) and Sean Ingram (Coalesce). The Ocean’s full time vocalist, Meta, is a powerhouse of his own, having ear-piercing highs and lows guttural enough to make your balls ache.
As I feel I must reiterate, Aeolian
is a heavy
record. The production is so thick you can slice it with an axe, and the riffs can be downright haunting at times; e.g. the doom passage in ‘The City of the Sea’. Plus, nothing says heavy like breakdowns, and the breakdowns on this record are unparalleled. Seriously, ‘Une Saison en Enfer’, ‘The City in the Sea’, and ‘One with the Ocean’ have absolutely crushing
breakdowns, hell I’d go so far as to say they’re some of the best breakdowns ever written. Mellow passages are few and far between but when they’re done, such as the glorious intertwining of strings in ‘Inertia’, they’re done right – not too overdramatic and fitting perfectly with the gloomy mood of the album.
For any hardcore, sludge, post, doom metal fan, or generally anyone looking for an album dark enough to put you in a hypnotic trance, The Ocean’s second LP will not disappoint. I couldn’t be more glad Fluxion
weren’t released as a double album as they originally intended. Aeolian
needs to be listened to as its own entity to be truly appreciated and to become completely immersed in its atmosphere. So, is Aeolian
as good as its highly praised successor Precambrian
? Well no, I wouldn’t go that far, however it is their most focused and consistent release to date. When it comes to massive albums, Aeolian
rests comfortably with Neurosis’ Through Silver in Blood
and Cult of Luna’s The Beyond
“Can you still the stars through layers of grey
Or have the city lights taken their place?
The stars are fading away…”
- The City in the Sea
- Une Saison en Enfer
- Queen of the Food-Chain