Header
The Ocean - Pelagial CD (album) cover

PELAGIAL

The Ocean

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.70 | 94 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

topofsm
5 stars After The Ocean released their experimental metal masterpiece "Precambrian", bandleader & guitarist Robin Staps finally settled on a consistent lineup for the group, notably deciding on Loic Rosetti for vocals and changing the collective into a standard metal band. Along with this shift in band philosophy, a shift came in overall sound for The Ocean. Immediately after monster-length crushing symphonic tracks in "Precambrian", fans were treated to softer, more accessible works in "Heliocentric", followed by "Anthropocentric", which improved this sound but still contained issues with presenting an album with consistently strong quality tracks. It seemed after two albums that were not quite as strong as their past efforts, The Ocean's best had already passed them.

Pelagial takes that idea and throws it out the window. Quality Ocean material is back. Again, they provide a concept album, with the idea of going deeper and deeper into the zones of the ocean as parallels between interpersonal struggle, all backing some impressive epic progressive sludge songwriting. The tracks flow from one to another effortlessly reinforcing the concept. It lacks the more experimental surprises found in their earlier albums, but replaces them with symphonic structures, varying song sections, and a multitude of energetic, epic riffs.

This is evidenced in the first actual track, "Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny", where a winding guitar melody builds, drums drop in more and more, distortion becomes more a factor, the vocalist becomes louder and louder until Rosetti's vocal melodies charge in for a triumphant climax. This description likely brings to mind lots of post-rock ideas, and post-rock is definitely an element of The Ocean's music, but the song is definitely of a more progressive metal variety, with lots of high energy that would be perfect to begin a show. These sort of dynamics are all over the place, notably in the 9-minute "Hadopelagic II: Let them Believe", which begins with a rather alternative-sounding 6/8 jazzy groove, contains beautiful piano, but often twists into pounding sludgy riffs and sharp guitar lines.

Dynamics are never more prominent than in "Bathyalpalegic I: Impasses", which begin with harsh growls and crushing guitar sounds, until everything but a sole piano drops out, which Rosetti uses to come in and deliver a few rather personal emotional vocals. Cymbals and guitars suddenly crash in and drone on the beautiful melodies, which cues once again another driving, groovy metal section.

There are many parts that finally recall the more beloved older Ocean material. "Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance" is a lengthy, symphonic track that would fit perfectly in the second Precambrian disc, while "Bathyalpalegic II: The Wish in Dreams" is a highly energetic mosh- inducing song reminscent of the first disc. The final track is an absolutely crushing drone doom track that represents the absolute black, cold seafloor at immense pressures. Despite this description, the production is very clean and modern for a sludge metal album. Often the sound is very comparable to Mastodon's "Crack The Skye", though without the psychedelic and progressive keyboard influence. The story of that album is much clearer than the more abstract concept found on Pelagial, but the comparison remains.

Overall, while this doesn't quite reach the peaks found on Precambrian, Pelagial is a beautiful progressive sludge metal masterpiece. If one were to define modern Ocean as heliocentric onward, Pelagial is likely to be the masterpiece of the modern Ocean. The concept is well executed, the songs develop masterfully, the riffs are strong and heavy, and all put together it is a testament of what the Ocean is still capable of. Definitely best for fans of sludge, and will likely bring back those who walked away from the band in the past.

topofsm | 5/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Share this THE OCEAN review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.02 seconds