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The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic CD (album) cover

PHANEROZOIC II: MESOZOIC | CENOZOIC

The Ocean

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.04 | 56 ratings

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ssmarcus
4 stars The Ocean have spent the last two decades firmly establishing themselves as one of the most prominent and respected progressive metal acts of the 2000's. Their lean but nearly flawless discography has pushed their brand of adventurous post-metal, sludge, and groove into progressive metal's inner sanctum of stylistic variations. The ground covered by their music literally spans eons all while managing to address itself to man's frail existential condition.

Take their latest record, Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic, for example. The third and ostensibly final installment of a trilogy of albums, the first being 2007's Precambrian and the second being 2018's Phanerozoic I, completes the band's ambitious attempt to cover, via their music, the entire natural history of planet earth from its fiery inception, its multiple dramatic and tragic extermination events, and all the way through to the present geological age. Of course, the geological history functions, on all three records, as a mediation and, at times, extended metaphor for man's place in the entirely incomprehensible and cyclic vastness of creation.

While Phanerozoic II is a decent record and arguably fitting closure to the geological saga, I think longer time fans like myself are likely to find it a tad underwhelming. The record covers no new ground not already explored in previous releases and, most damningly, has far fewer memorable riffs and melodies. Still, I think the record is an excellent way for newer fans to get introduced and it still holds up as one of 2020's stronger releases.

ssmarcus | 4/5 |

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