Oceans Ate Alaska
Hikari


4.5
superb

Review

by Sebastian USER (71 Reviews)
July 31st, 2017 | 73 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More wanky goodness.

Oceans Ate Alaska don’t exactly fit into the typical metalcore tropes. Sure, there’s the plentiful breakdowns and low-tuned chug goodness, but their frenetic guitars and odd time signatures put their debut Lost Isles on a different level than the typical album in the genre. Although the record did tend to get tiresome at times, small doses provided a big kick, but still allowed the record to flow without overstaying its welcome. So, with a new vocalist in tow, Hikari proves that their debut LP was no fluke, and release a robust record that stays true to their sound without resulting in a sophomore slump.

Although much of what made Lost Isles great remains on Hikari, the record as a whole feels far more varied and fresh. New vocalist Jake Noakes proves his immense capabilities, far outdoing anything previous vocalist James Harrison could do. Jake’s clean vocals are more melodic and less grating, and are carefully placed throughout the album rather than interjecting at random. ‘Hansha’ is a great example of this, as his higher vocal register croons over the erratic instrumentals during the runtime of the song. His harsh vocals are also nothing to be messed with; his more deathcore-esque screams result in the heavier moments on the album feeling that extra bit ‘extreme’, never detracting from the stop-start instrumentals, particularly on songs like ‘Deadweight’. The production also lends a great helping hand to not only Jake but the entire band. The album perfectly balances out the instrumentals, even if the bass is perhaps not as loud as it should be at times, and allows Jake’s vocals to really grip the listener.

Hikari overall proves a far more mature outing from a band who had seemingly found a niche that they would stick with. The namesake song on the record begins with a more subdued intro before slowly developing over time, with the relatively simple song structure proving to be a blessing that the band blossoms into a fantastic track. The album overall feels more fleshed out; the implementation of traditional Japanese instruments, along with a shorter runtime, allows OAA to broaden their work and implement more variety into a sound that can quickly become overwhelmingly stale. And even when they stick to what they do best on songs like ‘Benzaiten’ and ‘Birth-Marked’, it hits far harder than in previous efforts. All instrumentals are entertaining and schizophrenic as ever; guitars stop-start at will, drums remain fantastically overcomplicated, and the bass has some great moments, particularly on interim track ‘Ukiyo’.

Although it can be viewed as more of the same from Oceans Ate Alaska, Hikari is a wonderfully intricate album that still proves that the band have a few tricks up their sleeve. New vocalist Jake Noakes proves that anything you can do, he can do better, and enables the album to feel more complex and intelligent than previous efforts. Although the sound can become tired at times, Hikari puts Oceans Ate Alaska at the top of their game, and really proves the staying power of a band who had seemingly branded themselves as just another metalcore-deathcore hybrid.

4.3/5

Seek Out: Benzaiten, Hansha, Deadweight, Hikari,
Avoid: Entrapment



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user ratings (115)
Chart.
3.5
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other reviews of this album
brettgoespunk (3.5)
A generally unique slab of progressive metalcore in a slowly staling scene....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Drubbi
July 30th 2017


266 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hikari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1O_TaoR1JM



Hansha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmQQDvCRZw0



Jake sounds fantastic on this album, really good pickup for the band.

Digging: Dwellings - Lavender Town

SteakByrnes
July 31st 2017


12167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

From the songs they released prior to this coming out, the new vocalist did not impress me in the slightest

Digging: Night Verses - From the Gallery of Sleep

JeetJeet
July 31st 2017


5257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review. This album however, no bueno.

Digging: Hundredth - Ultrarare

iChuckles
July 31st 2017


265 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet review, I absolutely love the japanese-vibe (particularily the jazz intro to "Hikari" and the strange ambiance on "Hansha"). I'm still not sold on the new guy's screaming/growling thingy doe.

bloc
July 31st 2017


50795 Comments


I will be checking this in hopes to take away one or two amazing songs

Digging: Oubliette (USA) - The Passage

JeetJeet
July 31st 2017


5257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nothing on here is as awesome as Blood Brothers.

bloc
July 31st 2017


50795 Comments


Fuck

JayEnder
July 31st 2017


1893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey Hansha is pree cool. The two instrumentals aren't bad either. I like the Japanese influence

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Chemical Miracle

JeetJeet
July 31st 2017


5257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I like the Japanese influence too actually. I just think the songwriting on here is terrible. There are breakdowns littered all over this thing and 90% of them are bad. The one in the middle of Escapist might be the worst one I've heard all year.

SteakByrnes
July 31st 2017


12167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree with my boi Jeet, this isn't sounding too good and really misses James and his blistering highs

JayEnder
July 31st 2017


1893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lol yeah the breakdown in Escapist totally kills the momentum of the song.



James > Jake

bloc
July 31st 2017


50795 Comments


Wow their drummer is still a monster

https://youtu.be/qujpwf9-ODg

SteakByrnes
July 31st 2017


12167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yea the drummer is an absolute beast, he reminds me of the drummer from Here Comes The Kraken

bloc
July 31st 2017


50795 Comments


The label was fuckin smart to showcase him more than the rest of the band. The number of views for his drumming playthroughs is quite extraordinary.

sempiturtle
July 31st 2017


1430 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is great, and I didn't like the singles (except Hansha) either.

GreyShadow
July 31st 2017


2368 Comments


idk, he sounds good, but I just listened to the two songs you linked to and these songs don't have any sort of coherence. I'll check this out though, I'm curious for the instrumentals.

ohtheurgency
August 1st 2017


109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the cleans but something seems off. From some of the videos I have seen of him, his cleans live sound better than the album.



Covert has the same issue somewhat when it transitions into the chorus for the second time.

NorwichScene
August 1st 2017


2560 Comments


Sounds like it could be worth a listen

Digging: Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears

Wildcardbitchesss
August 1st 2017


936 Comments


Really hate the vocalist.

SteakByrnes
August 1st 2017


12167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yea I'm not too fond of the vocalist either



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