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The Ocean

Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Fluxion" is the debut full-length studio album by German sludge/post metal/hardcore act The Ocean (sometimes referred to as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Make My Day Records/Throne Records in November 2004 (Pelagic Records released a remixed and remastered version of the album in 2009, which also featured re-recorded vocal tracks with another vocalist). The Ocean recorded a lot of material during the sessions for "Fluxion" and ended up with enough tracks to fill two full-length studio albums. "Fluxion" features the most experimental/progressive and melodic tracks from the recording sessions while a second album titled "Aeolian" (released through Metal Blade Records in November 2005) features the most raw and brutal sludge/hardcore tracks from the same sessions.

Stylistically the music on "Fluxion" is sludge/post metal/hardcore but featuring adventurous ideas and progressive elements. There are lots of classical influences on the album and there are both violin, cello, and clarinet featured on the material. The music is very heavy with sharp distorted guitar riffing, pounding drums, and an angry sounding and raw shouting frontman. There are only very few clean vocals on the album but when they appear on "Isla Del Sol" it´s a positive surprise which is great for the diversity on the album. Other standout tracks would be the symphonic opener "Nazca" and the closing 14:33 minutes long "The Greatest Bane". "The Greatest Bane" touches post metal territory with it´s slow- to mid paced tempo and slow building structure. There are also some really agressive hardcore tracks featured on the album like "Comfort Zones" and "Dead On The Whole" while "Fluxion" and "Loopholes" show a more atmospheric and subtle side of The Ocean. The tracklist has a conceptual feel to it, and "Fluxion" is the kind of album, which deserves to be listened to as a whole in one listening session. That´s the best way to discover and feel the effect of the dynamics of the loud heavy parts and softer more atmospheric moments.

The album is well produced, featuring a powerful, atmospheric, and detailed production (the drums could have prospered from a more organic tone though), which goes well with the often layered and complex music. The musicianship is on a high level throughout and upon conclusion "Fluxion" is a very strong and promising debut album by The Ocean. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#184054)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Fluxion' - The Ocean (8/10)

A fine contrast to the heavier, raw second album of this German experimental metal band, 'Fluxion' introduces The Ocean (also known as the Ocean Collective) as a post-metal band that isn't afraid to throw ample amounts of heaviness in as well. Combining the traditional primitive nature of sludge metal with classically-influenced post-rock, there is a very distinctive, dystopian sound here. While 'Fluxion' can be considered as heavy as any other Ocean release, there is alot of melody here that helps lend some powerful atmosphere and ambience to this monster of an album.

While the guitars and vocals can at times be a bit too primal for their own good, a deceptively amazing sense of flow and classical arrangements take 'Fluxion' not shared by most of it's post-hardcore contemporaries. Much like an ocean, The Ocean is vast and massive. What really differentiates this from most other 'post-music' is that there is an abundance of riffs to delve into. While the purely 'post-rock' sections certainly lend a hand to tradition in that they focus on atmosphere, the same unsettling vibe is given throughout. Atonality is used alot here, and it works very well with the more harmonious elements.

'Nazca' is a powerful instrumental opener that really shows what the album is about, intelligent power. Some interesting melodic passages play on top of the brutality, leading seamlessly into the first 'vocal' track, 'The Human Stain.' While this second track begins on a bit of a sour note (there is too much noise and distortion to really get a grip on it) it eventually leads into a middle instrumental section which is really gorgeous and well- arranged. Many of the songs on 'Fluxion' segue into each other, in fact; giving the impression of a running-long track, although each of the songs function as single units.

The last two songs are almost at 'epic' length; the last of the two being almost fifteen minutes in length. 'Isla Del Sol' is my personal favourite of the album, being an apparent counterpart to the track 'Isla Del Luna' from the fantastic EP 'Fogdiver.' It builds up very well, seemingly climaxing at the first (and only) melodic vocal section of the whole album. There are recurring riffs that play throughout the whole song, but the repetition does not make it feel recycled and tired at all. After 'Isla Del Sol' wraps up, it's time for the real epic of the album; 'The Greatest Bane.' I have to say, this is a real monster of a song that functions as a perfect finale to 'Fluxion.' All of the tricks in the book are brought up to the forefront, including the heavy riff sections, string section ambience, and unsettling beauty that makes this band so great.

'Fluxion' has some parts that feel a bit too excessive, but it really is a work of grandeur; especially considering it was the project's debut album. While a later work 'Precambrian' is arguably better and more cohesive, 'Fluxion' stands as being a fantastic debut work, and recommended to anyone that is into the work's genre.

Report this review (#287925)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink

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