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Oceansize - Effloresce CD (album) cover

EFFLORESCE

Oceansize

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.05 | 224 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Effloresce' is an extraordinary debut album that every lover of modern progressive music should listen to.

OCEANSIZE combines a wide variety of genres on this record. The Mancunians' most obvious influence is the ponderous guitar wall of sound, the textures and rhythms common to post-rock bands like PELICAN and ISIS, but this is masterfully combined with melodic elements to make an extremely palatable whole. A touchstone band for the sake of comparison is TOOL, as others have mentioned, for their use of rhythm and the JAMES MAYNARD KEENAN-like vocals, but OCEANSIZE are no mere TOOL clone. There's psychedelic, metal and space-rock elements here for good measure.

Having analysed it, it's a good time to say that at heart this album contains a selection of excellent, powerful songs. The opener, 'I Am The Morning', is just the warm-up act, but its fuzzed guitar and simple tune, weaving in and out of heavy sections, is fair warning that here is a band who understand beauty as well as power. The drums bludgeon even as the guitars caress. A wise selection as opener, the song speaks to the listener of the band's maturity. It is followed by 'Catalyst', a powerful storm of a song that begins in a cacophony but soon settles into crushing riffs with an acoustic overlay. The singing is sparse but excellent, adding another dimension to the post-rock sound. Oh yes, this is a band easy to fall in love with. And there's more than sixty minutes still to go.

Can I offer some humble advice at this point? The album is twice as long as albums used to be; it's the same length as YES's 'Tales' or GENESIS's 'Lamb', and takes as much listening - more, perhaps, if you're overwhelmed by the guitar sound. Please don't be quick to dismiss this record: stay with it until the themes become familiar to you.

The ominous vocals, searing riff and rumbling bass of 'One Day All This Could Be Yours' lead to the megalithic 'Massive Bereavement'. Massive it is, too, ten minutes of sonic intensity. 'Rinsed' gives us a rest: far from being 'throwaway' tracks, 'Rinsed' and 'Unravel' provide the necessary moments of rest that prevent the first few listens to this album from being impenetrable. In between the two tracks are three excellent songs. 'You Wish' sounds like a refugee from 'Aenima' - you'd swear it was a TOOL song - 'Remember Where You Are' has a wonderfully memorable chorus rendered in a monotone, and 'Amputee', though less impressive, is solid enough.

After 'Unravel' the album ends with nearly half an hour of the most post-rock sounding music on the album, three tracks with more build and less melody than that which precedes them. Of the three, the final track, 'Long Forgotten', is the best and belies its title: after a couple of listens you'll be hard pressed to forget it. Of their first three albums I find this by far the most compelling (though I've not heard 'Frames' enough yet), but all three are worth a listen.

This is a long way removed from the sort of music we called 'progressive' in the 1970s. Apparently OCEANSIZE don't consider themselves progressive, but despite themselves they have created an interesting and unique amalgam of sounds and styles from a variety of sources, most of them progressive. I'd recommend this to anyone enamoured of progressive metal and looking for something more sophisticated than the standard prog-metal fare, and to those looking to splash in the shallows of the post-rock ocean. This is what progressive music is becoming.

russellk | 5/5 |

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