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Ocean Architecture - Animus CD (album) cover

ANIMUS

Ocean Architecture

 

Progressive Metal

3.79 | 83 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SBD
5 stars I will start by letting you know that I am not a fan of growling. However this is the best use of the style that I have heard as it enhances the strong emotions as the story unfolds. I love the way the guitar and keyboard interact throughout the Album. The instruments are always complimenting each other and never fighting for dominance, which with progressive metal is too often the case. The rhythm led by the drums is dynamic and builds climax, but is not overdone, which again is sometimes an issue with music in this genre. The listener never gets board and the 8-track hour long album seems to slip by quickly. The lyrics are somewhat abstract but straightforward enough that the listener can understand the story, which is about a set of characters or possibly the same character who is struggling with the meaning of life revealing philosophical debates as old as the human race itself, ultimately exposing our outlook on thought, emotion, reality, and enlightenment. As a lot of the other tracks on the Album have already been reviewed, I have chosen to focus on the last two tracks, which in my opinion are the best on the Album. Animus Part 1:

The track starts with dark mysterious guitar riffs. It is clear that we are building to the climax of the Album. The vocals switch back and forth between clean crisp perfect pitch and Mike Akerfeldt style growls. There are shifts from dark haunting melodies to bright hopeful "Jerry Lee Lewis" piano riffs layered over metal that ranges from simple power chords to complex runs up and down the fret board. Out of nowhere it goes from hopeful energy to mania with overtones of what can only be described as high velocity bluegrass. Throughout this track, the heavy metal drums, guitar and bass are balanced with beautiful piano arpeggios providing uncharacteristic melody to mostly heavy metal music.

Meaning of the lyrics: A man experiences a tragedy: his girlfriend/wife dies in a plane crash into the ocean. He wasn't the kind of person who questioned life, until his purpose for existing (his relationship/family) ended making life meaningless. After deeply analyzing his situation and existence, he reasons that since everyone has a purpose and he now has none, that the universe is "off balance." Confused and blind by his emotions and thoughts, he isolates himself into nothing but his own thinking, which gives him a false sense of enlightenment. He then starts to blame the world he as fake, and unreal. He determines that he can "balance" the universe by drowning in the same waters that took his wife, and by doing so would be saved. He walks into the ocean, and sinks into the water. As he is sinking, the universe itself starts speaking to him. Like the voice of God, it tells him to follow it to the surface?

Animus Part II:

Musically there are a lot of similarities between Animus Part I and Animus Part II. The raging mania continues from the previous track but then ends as it flows into a melodious combination of soft guitar, organ, and flute with beautiful clean vocal. This time it does not return us to a dark place, but takes us to a place of peace. The vocal chant at the end is amazing, with layered group vocals and occasional underlying growls; it is interesting and unique. The dark album has ended with a message of hope, but a permanent outcome is not certain because the last note does not give us a sense of finality as it is only resolved with the first of note of the first track Metatheory. Lyrically, this is a continuation from the previous song. In a dreamy delirious state, the character is seeing metaphorical visions after God had revealed the meaning of his life. He suddenly understands that he was wrong, and blind to the truth. He has visions of being reborn, exiting a cave, and his soul embracing the earth. He also understands that the key to enlightenment is simple. At the climax of his visions, he sees the sky and smiles to it. He opens his eyes and finds himself washed up on the shore at sunrise, and observes everything around him. He fills his lungs with his "first breath" of air, and thoughts of love and control for his life take over. He seems to connect with every human soul on the earth, while his problems and confusion slip away like a forgotten dream.

Just as the music flows from the last note on the final track Animus right into the first note of the first track Metatheory, the lyrics of Metatheory reference Animus as if it were a vivid dream but that slipped away and cannot be recalled frustrating the character. And the album continues forward ?

This album is pure genius from both a musical and lyrical perspective. It is philosophically brilliant and mature for such a young group and simply excellent as a debut release. 5/5

SBD | 5/5 |

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