The Ocean
Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (347 Reviews)
September 25th, 2020 | 692 replies


Release Date: 09/24/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A seismic shift through time.

When The Ocean unleashed their seventh studio two years ago it created a level of hype for the eventual counterpart that would follow. On the back of an already successful discography tackling themes of oceanology, astronomy and more recently the likes of paleontology, Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic further continued the German based act’s dominance into an amalgamation of sounds that borrowed largely from the soundscapes of Gojira, Neurosis, Mastodon and even the likes of Tool. Yet, the evolving soundscapes The Ocean presented was undoubtedly their own. With this in mind it’s important to note that no two albums have been largely rooted together, as one entity, while being completely separate chapters - but they all enjoyed a consistency in theme. Where Palaeozoic brought a motif of Cambrian and human kind’s earliest beginnings and wrapped into a masterclass of post-meets-progressive metal, it’s counterpart (and this year’s) Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic bridges the more dramatic alignments of the planet after a certain rock smashed into the ground signaling the end of a Triassic period.

The record’s opening piece, “Triassic” reaffirms the continuation of the group’s Phanerozoic themes as atmospheric grooves lurch into quaint, yet melancholic melody lines. Syncopated and even phrased vocals join the simple instrumentation, adding a somewhat haunting effect, but it’s the track’s initial leanings in contrast that drive The Ocean’s storyline. Heavier sludge sections trample the smoother sections of the track jolting the listener out of their peaceful state - not unlike an asteroid hitting the earth. Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic provides an early example of savagery within its soundscapes, welcoming the harshness in moments of unsuspecting tranquility. “Jurassic I Cretaceous” builds on this atmosphere, highlighting a fall of the dominant species in a thirteen minute shifting of seismic sludge. Harsh vocals accentuate the clear harshness of the time, allowing the listener to imagine the turbulence, uncertainty and expectation of what would come later. Still, a central theme remains moving from one point to the next at the rate of molten lava running from a volcanic vent. The Ocean flex on their instrumentation, slamming grooves into the brewing atmosphere and layered synth. It’s here however that The Ocean falls victim to their own nuance, occasionally meandering, if only fleetingly towards their next motif, next page or next chapter. Cries of “within the blink of an eye//wiped off the face of the earth” speak too plainly, and loses some of its crescendoing effect - over dramatized in lieu of better songwriting. It’s a small gripe and fairly forgivable in a larger scale.

As the record continues the shift from the Mesozoic to the clear Cenozoic becomes less veiled. Tracks like “Oligocene” become poignant in their own time, relying less on the harsh realities of species destruction. The track itself is largely laid back, churning out repeating rhythms and swirling melody lines as memorable as the album’s earlier vocal hooks. As an introduction to “Miocene I Pliocene” its spacing allows the listener some breathing room, before re-injecting the soundscape with harsh vocals and brooding melodies. Despite Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic’s more energetic, primal beginnings it’s here that The Ocean’s newest effort hits its stride. Whether it’s the sensual cello accompaniment that swans around the back of “Pleistocene” or the synth heavy work that earmarks the album’s closing passages, Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic comes together with a strong culmination of ideas. Even the vocal phrasing of “Holocene” closes the album’s life circle, mimicking the hypnotic edges that started this fifty-one minute display of progressive metal. It could be argued that The Ocean’s particular brand of post metal has become a modern expression of expansive musical motif. It’s a thought that’s not too far off the mark. Largely, The Ocean’s 2020 piece isn’t quite as impactful as Palaeozoic, but it’s the more humble and expansive offering between the two. Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic may not hit as hard as that meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, but it’s a worthy addition that continues The Ocean’s constant motion forwards.



Recent reviews by this author
Sevendust Blood and StoneDevilDriver Dealing With Demons I
Steve Von Till No Wilderness Deep EnoughDefeated Sanity The Sanguinary Impetus
Gaerea LimboPyrrhon Abscess Time
user ratings (289)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
TundraL5Z (4.5)
Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic is an album that reveals itself the more you listen....

terriblekonrad (4.5)
Tough and calm like a stone with destruction in between...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


12937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Relevant bandcamp link:



https://theocean.bandcamp.com/album/phanerozoic-ii-mesozoic-cenozoic

Ray91
September 25th 2020


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Band is phenomenal. Jurassic is so outstanding, the band fails to reach that level again throughout the record but that doesn't mean the rest is bad. Really loving the closer as well with that black metal ending

Digging: Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence

Arctick
September 25th 2020


11 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

IDK I was kinda snoozing through this and the last one.

Faraudo
September 25th 2020


3825 Comments


I'm listening to Deftones, maybe someday I'll check this one out!

Digging: Crack Cloud - Pain Olympics

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


12937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

We must be doing reverse listening schedules. I’m yet to explore that little ditty.

Faraudo
September 25th 2020


3825 Comments


Go for it my dude, we're all having a party right now imo.
Anyways, pretty good review (as usual), this must be great as well.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


12937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Just hitting the trending list now

Piripichotes
September 25th 2020


561 Comments


This is closer to Pelagial in sound, maybe that's what's turning people off....

TundraL5Z
September 25th 2020


5179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Better than my review, I'm an amateur

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2020


4379 Comments


You reckon this is one of those rare post-metal jams I might like Noct?

Mythodea
September 25th 2020


5318 Comments


I haven't checked any of the singles on purpose and I'm still on the opening track and already I'm liking it more than Pt. I

monocaust
September 25th 2020


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

huge fan of the bass on this. Don't think it's clicking as much as Phanerozoic I but still a jam

Digging: David Maxim Micic - Bilo 3.0

kalkwiese
September 25th 2020


6172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easy contender for aoty boiiii

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


12937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Jac, did you give the 2018 album a go? Out of the two I preferred the first.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! It's an interesting album, not as immediate as Phanerozoic I IMO. I appreciate them trying to branch out and it feels like they're still exploring stuff (related to the meandering you mentioned). I love the Eastern type grooves on 'Triassic' and the downtempo ambient of 'Oligocene'. It kind of feels as if they're about to level up on their next release with all the stuff they're building here.

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Work starting to pile up! Damn! Still gotta check this and the Deftones!

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


12937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yes you do sir.

bowlermicah
September 25th 2020


96 Comments


Really enjoyed this the first time through. Felt very centered around 3-4 songs with interludes though.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2020


5328 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

commenting to remind me to read when I'll jam the album

DDDeftoneDDD
September 25th 2020


13981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hell da fuck yeah!

Digging: The Carrier - No Love Can Save Me



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy