Review Summary: For a debut, this shows promise. However, the band needs to do more to distance themselves from their peers.
For those of you who don't know, Oceana is a five piece melodic metalcore band from Florida. Oceana is signed to Rise Records, which is home to bands such as The Devil Wears Prada, Burden Of A Day, Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, and so on so forth. The Tide is the bands first full length album, and for the most part it shows promise, with the exception of one major flaw...(which we will get to briefly)
Instrumentally, the album sounds like if UnderOath's They're Only Chasing Safety was written with the technicality and heaviness of Define The Great Line. For the most part the music maintains a heavy edge, with the guitarists doing a nice job of providing head nodding riffs and melodic lines that wind in and out in a very pleasant way. The breakdowns in the album, and yes there are plenty, do get a bit tedious after a few listens, but that's not to say that there aren't a few memorable ones throughout, such as the multiple breakdowns in the album's title track that segue into clean piano sections. The rhythm section can be compared to most other band's in the genre, in that the drums are very solid, but can sometimes fall into using the same cymbal crashes repeatedly, and the bass is really never a huge part of the picture, although when it does make an appearance it isn't half bad.
The songs are all of the same aggressive nature, with galloping open chords mixed with dissonance and pounding double bass, mixed with passionate screaming and calming singing. The vocalist's scream isn't anything special, but he does a very decent job. The clean vocals on the album are very pleasant, but do fall into the trap of being very overproduced, usually having up to what sounds like three extra harmony tracks. The guitars do add some interesting "leads" throughout the album. The reason that is in quotes is because normally leads consist of miniature solo sections, i.e. fast paced, but the leads on this album are very spacey, usually employing large amounts of echo and reverb, and while that sounds boring, they do actually serve to grab your attention, usually by hitting what appears to be a sour note at first listen, which is really just the use of diminished scales. (something employed heavily by As Cities Burn) A good example of this would be the melody lines in the opener, The Accountable, which is one of the cd's strongest showings. Come Again" is simply, an interlude track which is really nothing special. It consists of some echoing guitar lines and electronic drums, but it does serve as an intermission of sorts.
Every song on this album does end up being enjoyable, but they end up being enjoyable in the same way. It seems like, even though there is a fair amount of variety, the band gets into the rhythm of throwing out the same melody lines intermingled with the dissonant diminished chords and palm muted chugs, while the vocals end up screaming in the same syncopated manner and singing the same notes with different words. However, the main flaw with this album is simply the fact that they are doing the same things as UnderOath, and quite frankly at this point UnderOath is much better at it. Thats not to say that this band doesn't show promise, it just seems like no matter much I enjoy this album, it always makes me want to pop in UnderOath or As Cities Burn instead.
-decent instrumental work
-very solid vocals and rhythm section
-will hold UnderOath fans over until the new record (could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective)
-gets a little tiresome with repeated listening
-clean vocals are overproduced at times
-this early in their career, the band just doesn't have enough experience to warrant praise as anything but a slightly less enjoyable UnderOath
We Are The Messengers