Review Summary: Ranging from the saddest post-hardcore riffs to crushing metalcore, Oceana create the most unforgettable album I have ever heard.
At first glance, Oceana may seem like an average post-hardcore outfit. Upon further listens of this album, it becomes evident that this band is anything but average. Their music, while complicated at times, accomplishes something that most artists aren't able to do these days; It makes your emotions flutter. Ranging from monotonous yet intense screams, to some of the most beautiful vocal melodies to ever be delivered within the genre, courtesy of Brennan Taulbee. Birth.Eater
is an album that will force itself into your mind and heart when you're most vulnerable and never leave.
The album starts off with "Breather II", the only song containing no clean vocals, making it the most brutal track on this disc. This contrasts with the stunning, yet peaceful ending of the record, "Devil Walk, God Walk (Heaven Walk, Hell Walk)". The second track, "The Family Disease", the finest track on the record showcases the band working at their highest level on all accounts. Every part of the band come together to create something amazing here; From the vocals, to the astounding percussion work by drummer Danny Agosto, to the atmosphere created by the light electronics deep in the background, everything fits perfectly.
The overall feel of this album is truly depressing. This feeling is contributed to by all members of the band. The way Taulbee delivers the lyrics, and they way his voice sounds, make everything seem very sad. The theme of the lyrics range from abortion to struggles with faith, but maintain a consistent feeling to the album and can be interpreted in many different ways. Another standout track on the album, "The Abortion Plan" captures the essence of depression more than any other song on the album and leaves the listener wondering what would have inspired Taulbee to write such things. "My mother didn't want me, my whole life I've been starving. 9 months to grow inside you, my life was as fresh as the mind of an infant. Where did I go" Hell, I knew that my heart wouldn't make it."
The listener can't help but to be chilled as these words are echoed, mixed with the blissful guitar playing in the background.
The mix of poppy vocal melodies and ultimately bleak lyrics create an effect not found anywhere else in the genre. "Dead Speaker" is the most prominent case of this. "Something didn't want you to live in me. My body rejected you, you don't belong to me and after the body's clean they have to make room for me to sleep"
is the catchiest moment on the album and will get stuck in the listeners head for days. This line is repeated several times in the song and grows more and more intense each time. Each time the music grows, the vocals grow, until Taulbee is howling at the top of his vocal range, which proves to be very effective.
Breakdowns, while used sparingly on this album, truly bring together some of the songs that would have otherwise failed. The crushing breakdown on "Boa" is a perfect example of how fierce this band can be. It's almost like a sixteen year old boy having an emotional outburst; The boy loses it but at the same time is truly depressed and moans about how everything turned out awful.
The only flaws present on the album is that some of the songs seem very boring at first. Given time to grow, every song on the album becomes close to the listener. Some of the songs are also similar in some respects, which may ruin the album for certain people. Others may not enjoy the screams of Taulbee due to the monotonous nature of them. The bass could be a bit louder as well, but I'm not complaining.
Not much else can be said about this record. While not stunning in every respect, it is a classic because when you listen to this album, no matter what your mood, it will ruin you. The vocals are truly amazing, the guitarists show off some very mature sounding riffs, the drummer's creative approach to each song, and the overall feeling of Birth.Eater
make this a true post-hardcore classic.