Review Summary: More animal samples on the next album fam.
The first time I heard As Ocean's Still Miles To Go, my car had just broken down and I was to trek through the Florida heat to get to work that day. I couldn't have had a better album to jam that day because Still Miles To Go slaps hard. If anybody had heckled me on the street that day I would have opened up the pit on the sidewalk and hopefully have made it onto the Florida Memes facebook page.
Opening track Blackfish greets you with some Manowar-esque flair as a galloping horse and a majestic hawk screech preps the listener for the battle to come. The song then transitions into post-rock territory before unleashing it's aggressive side. It's seamless blend of melody, atmosphere and aggression is a perfect showcase for the talent that this burgeoning North Carolina group possesses. The next track Wanderer of Above the Mist displays some exotic Middle Eastern influence while pulverizing the listeners with some crushing breakdowns. Spacey synthesizers and passionate clean/harsh vocals fuel the song with fire and ice as the acrobatic guitar and rhythm section energetically dance in cohesion. The rest of the album follows suit with spirited songwriting, unbridled fury and energetic musicianship that will propel these guys further up the totem pole in the aggressive music scene.
Still Miles To Go runs for 52 minutes throughout 11 tracks and all throughout it never gets boring thanks to the group's dynamic songwriting abilities. Solos are epics, drums and bass are powerful, synths are chilling, the melodic sections are calming and the heavier parts get you seeing red. In regards to the softer side of the album, The Gulch and Part 1 - The Knight are big standouts for me. The Gulch is a soothing instrumental driven by a spoken sample regarding humanity and keys with a killer solo that sets the mood for a nice evening of stargazing and boozing under the moonlight. The Knight is one of the ballads of the record and it brings the feels man. Logan's clean vocals and the chill guitar/synth work make this incredibly memorable. It's like Moonlit Sailor with vocals and breakdowns, a perfect combination for me. Incidentally enough, after Knight ends you are greeted by a mack truck of aggression in Part II - The Premonition. The trilogy closes itself out gracefully with The Mourning, a slower tempo banger that's enhanced by the synths. It slows down half way through before erupting once more in the closing minute to punch you square in the jaw one last time. The closing track Still Miles To Go is an acoustic number that will make any Agalloch fan happy. A somber track, the boys shine again with powerful vocals, melancholy atmosphere and strongly relateable lyrics. Oh, and that wolf howl is pretty cool too.
Still Miles To Go has a wheel of fortune quality to it that I find incredibly endearing. Through heavy and soft, light to dark and calming to raging, As Oceans have created a truly special album here, not just for metalcore but for music in general. They have carved out their own style in the heavy music world and I cant wait to see these guys on the cover of Decibel one day. I strongly recommend this album for fans of Textures, Misery Signals, and Explosions in the Sky.