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The Ocean - Fogdiver CD (album) cover


The Ocean

Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Fogdiver" is an EP release by German/multinational sludge/post hardcore/metal act The Ocean. The EP was released through Make My Day Records in June 2003. Unlike their 2001 "Islands/Tides" promo, "Fogdiver" is a fully instrumental effort. The EP features 5 tracks and a total playing time of 29:57 minutes.

The music on the EP is a mix of post rock and more heavy sludge metal/hardcore sections. If you´re familiar with The Ocean´s succeeding album releases, the material on the "Fogdiver" EP is actually surprisingly less heavy than what you might expect. I was reminded of Mogwai a couple of times during the playing time. There are still plenty of heavy parts featured on the EP though, so this is still a "metal" release.

The sound production is professional and relatively powerful, and overall suits the music well. No vocals in sludge/post hardcore/metal can be an obstacle to some people, but with "Fogdiver", The Ocean prove that instrumental sludge/post hardcore/metal can be highly entertaining and quite clever as well. They would not further pursue this style though as they would add raw vocals to their music on their debut full-length studio album "Fluxion (2004)". "Fogdiver" deserves a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

Report this review (#257157)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Fogdiver' - The Ocean (8/10)

This rare-as-hell EP comes as a very pleasant surprise; something I just found by chance in a used record store. The rarity aside, this is a must-have for any fan of the Ocean right off the bat. Although the digipak the CD comes in is professional and neat, the 'underground' nature is seen inside; Robin Staps actually includes his mailing address inside for people to write him. As a completely instrumental album, The Ocean actually gives out the request that they would like people to send in their recordings of what they think the vocals should sound like! By that alone, this is obviously a unique and daring project, especially for a band that was virtually unknown at the time.

While I can see some people having a difficulty with the fact that it is completely void of singing, it really seems to let the compositions flow the way they want to. Without having to worry about throwing in vocal sections, things are allowed to become as atmospheric, or dark as they need to be. With an impressive production standard to boot, the Ocean goes from some brutally heavy sludge metal to lighter (yet always unsettling) post-rock tendencies. Although the general mood (the band themselves describe it as 'beautiful discomfort') remains the same throughout, many different timbres are employed, and non-metal instruments such as the piano and cello are introduced not just for novelty's sake, but to meaningfully add something new to the music.

The highlight on the album is undoubtedly the final track; 'The Long Road To Nha Trang.' With schizophrenic melodies and atonal guitar work, it almost seems that the entire album was leading up to this; even though the rest of it is filled with high points. While there is no showboating whatsoever, the technicality shifts into the next gear to the point where parts feel like aural madness. I would strongly suggest checking out this track right now so you can see what great music this EP has to offer.

The music in itself might be a bit of a mixed bag, but the quality of the overall package and the spirit behind it is certainly worth a purchase and a look into.

Report this review (#283633)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink

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