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THE OCEAN

Experimental/Post Metal • Germany


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The Ocean biography
THE OCEAN also known as THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE is a German post metal started by guitarist Robin Staps in 2000. During the first 2 years of its formation the band went through a constant change in lineup, having about 40 musicians joining and leaving the band before finding a more stable lineup. In July 2002 the band played their first concert at Berlin's Eimer's Club, followed by the self-release of their eponymous debut album entitled "Island/Tides".

After a short tour alongside Swedish band COMA in early 2003 the band signed with Make My Day Records and thus releasing the "Fogdiver" EP consisting only of 5 instrumental tracks though they had vocals when played live. "Fogdiver" was well received by critics unlike their previous album.

In early 2004 the band headed back to the studio to record two studio albums entitled "Fluxion" and "Aeolian". "Fluxion" was released through Make My Day Records and Throne Records in August 2004. The album featured a more calm and atmospheric sound and the incorporation of vocals and thus causing critics to consider the album "a step backwards in terms of innovation and originality". In 2005 the band changed their record label to Metal Blade Records. The remaining songs from their previous sessions would become "Aeolian". The album was released in March 2006 through their new label and featured a more metal sound and did not included classical instruments and electronic sounds like on previous albums. The album featured several vocalists instead of one like in Fluxion, which included Nate Newton (CONVERGE), Sean Ingram (COALESCE) and Tomas Hallbom (BREACH).

The release was followed by 5 months of touring to support the album. At the end of the year the band began working on their next album entitled "Precambrian" which was released in November 2007. The album contained 2 discs: the first one featured a heavier and raw influence similar to their previous album Aeolian while the second was more post metal influenced with the inclusion of classical instruments and electronic elements like the ones found in "Fluxion".


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Discography:
fluXion, studio album (2004)
Aeolian, studio album (2005)
Precambrian, studio album (2007)
...

The Ocean official website

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THE OCEAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE OCEAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 34 ratings
Fluxion
2004
3.75 | 32 ratings
Aeolian
2006
3.98 | 76 ratings
Precambrian
2007
3.54 | 42 ratings
Heliocentric
2010
3.95 | 73 ratings
Anthropocentric
2010
3.94 | 109 ratings
Pelagial
2013

THE OCEAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE OCEAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE OCEAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 6 ratings
Fluxion/Aeolian
2005

THE OCEAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 4 ratings
Islands/Tides
2001
5.00 | 2 ratings
2nd Demo
2002
3.71 | 10 ratings
Fogdiver
2003
5.00 | 2 ratings
Queen of the Food-Chain/Inertia
2005

THE OCEAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 73 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of two albums that The Ocean released in 2010 themed around different models of looking at the universe (the other one, naturally, being Heliocentric), Anthropocentric finds the band playing in an atmospheric, post-rock influenced style reminiscent of a more melodic take on late Mastodon - perhaps with the progressive sounds a bit more tempered by melodic accessibility. Tied in with a concept about how fundamentalism in religion and Creationist theories tend towards a simplistic view of the universe which tends to assume that everything, like the title implies, revolves around humanity, it's an interesting and accessible entry into the world of progressive, atmospheric sludge metal.
 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 73 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Anthropocentric" is the 5th full-length studio album by German post hardcore/progressive metal act The Ocean (also known as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2010 and is the second release in a two album series which are thematically connected (the lyrical concept is a philosophical critique of fundamentalist Christianity and Creationism). The first release in the series was "Heliocentric" which was released in April 2010.

The Ocean have long been one of the leading progressive post-hardcore/metal acts out there along with acts like Burst and Between the Buried and Me and "Anthropocentric" is another proof of why that is. This is a band that works even with the smallest details to create a greater whole. Guitarist and main composer Robin Staps sure knows how to write both heavy, beautiful and structurally intriguing music (it should be mentioned that second guitarist Jonathan Nido has also written a great part of the music on this album). "Heliocentric" featured quite a bit of strings and piano but "Anthropocentric" is predominantly played with "regular" rock/metal instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Sometimes layered to sound fat, heavy and epic and sometimes more atmospheric and mellow. Itīs safe to say that "Anthropocentric" is a very dynamic sounding album.

The vocals vary between harsh hardcore type shouting and clean vocals. The relatively short "The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith" features clean female vocals by Sheila Aguinaldo. The clean male vocals are skillfully executed by lead vocalist Loïc Rossetti, but there are probably some thatīll find them a bit too accessible and mainstream oriented. Some of his vocal parts and especially some of the backing vocals on the album remind me of Avenged Sevenfold.

"Anthropocentric" is very well produced. It features a big, warm and powerful sound production where every detail is heard. Paired with strong songwriting and a flawless execution of the music, that makes "Anthropocentric" a really strong album by The Ocean. I guess itīs not exactly as raw as some of the early releases by the band (especially "Aeolian (2005)" comes to mind), but itīs definitely just as intriguing albeit in a different way. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Precambrian by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.98 | 76 ratings

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Precambrian
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AgostinoScafidi

5 stars What a sick album! Yes, this whole record is a ride and it's got some amazing things to offer. It's a long record, just so you know. That doesn't mean it's bad or even better than one that would be shorter. I'm just stating a fact. If you could see yourself liking a raw style that's still coupled with technically proficiency (it has its own rather unique approach), then you'll see this album as a real treat.

From what I've been told, it's a concept album. I haven't read the lyrics, I'll let them just seep into me over time. If it being a concept record appeals to you then more reason to listen to Precambrian.

I am also impressed with the way The Ocean works as more of a collective than a traditional band with a set line-up. There are just so many musicians involved with this work it's really special.

Bottom line, this is a great progressive metal record that doesn't use all the tell-tale progressive metal elements.

 Pelagial by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 109 ratings

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Pelagial
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by topofsm

5 stars After The Ocean released their experimental metal masterpiece "Precambrian", bandleader & guitarist Robin Staps finally settled on a consistent lineup for the group, notably deciding on Loic Rosetti for vocals and changing the collective into a standard metal band. Along with this shift in band philosophy, a shift came in overall sound for The Ocean. Immediately after monster-length crushing symphonic tracks in "Precambrian", fans were treated to softer, more accessible works in "Heliocentric", followed by "Anthropocentric", which improved this sound but still contained issues with presenting an album with consistently strong quality tracks. It seemed after two albums that were not quite as strong as their past efforts, The Ocean's best had already passed them.

Pelagial takes that idea and throws it out the window. Quality Ocean material is back. Again, they provide a concept album, with the idea of going deeper and deeper into the zones of the ocean as parallels between interpersonal struggle, all backing some impressive epic progressive sludge songwriting. The tracks flow from one to another effortlessly reinforcing the concept. It lacks the more experimental surprises found in their earlier albums, but replaces them with symphonic structures, varying song sections, and a multitude of energetic, epic riffs.

This is evidenced in the first actual track, "Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny", where a winding guitar melody builds, drums drop in more and more, distortion becomes more a factor, the vocalist becomes louder and louder until Rosetti's vocal melodies charge in for a triumphant climax. This description likely brings to mind lots of post-rock ideas, and post-rock is definitely an element of The Ocean's music, but the song is definitely of a more progressive metal variety, with lots of high energy that would be perfect to begin a show. These sort of dynamics are all over the place, notably in the 9-minute "Hadopelagic II: Let them Believe", which begins with a rather alternative-sounding 6/8 jazzy groove, contains beautiful piano, but often twists into pounding sludgy riffs and sharp guitar lines.

Dynamics are never more prominent than in "Bathyalpalegic I: Impasses", which begin with harsh growls and crushing guitar sounds, until everything but a sole piano drops out, which Rosetti uses to come in and deliver a few rather personal emotional vocals. Cymbals and guitars suddenly crash in and drone on the beautiful melodies, which cues once again another driving, groovy metal section.

There are many parts that finally recall the more beloved older Ocean material. "Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance" is a lengthy, symphonic track that would fit perfectly in the second Precambrian disc, while "Bathyalpalegic II: The Wish in Dreams" is a highly energetic mosh- inducing song reminscent of the first disc. The final track is an absolutely crushing drone doom track that represents the absolute black, cold seafloor at immense pressures. Despite this description, the production is very clean and modern for a sludge metal album. Often the sound is very comparable to Mastodon's "Crack The Skye", though without the psychedelic and progressive keyboard influence. The story of that album is much clearer than the more abstract concept found on Pelagial, but the comparison remains.

Overall, while this doesn't quite reach the peaks found on Precambrian, Pelagial is a beautiful progressive sludge metal masterpiece. If one were to define modern Ocean as heliocentric onward, Pelagial is likely to be the masterpiece of the modern Ocean. The concept is well executed, the songs develop masterfully, the riffs are strong and heavy, and all put together it is a testament of what the Ocean is still capable of. Definitely best for fans of sludge, and will likely bring back those who walked away from the band in the past.

 Precambrian by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.98 | 76 ratings

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Precambrian
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "We've done two already and now we're steady..."

The Good: Neoarchaean. And some nice artwork.

The Bad: You know those lukewarm showers that go on forever and only heat up for a couple of seconds at a time to lure you into a false sense of hope... well German band The Ocean have turned that experience into a double album.

I heard these guys supporting Opeth along with Cynic a couple of years ago and my overbearing memory of the performance was trying to stop my trousers from falling down as a result of the earth-shattering double-bass drumming. Decided to check out their most celebrated material and after sitting through the full 83 minutes on multiple occasions I can only describe the experience as a chore. I'm no stranger to longer albums but a certain level of variation is necessary. What's on show here just seems incredibly generic.

The Verdict: Feels like 3,000 million years.

 Heliocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.54 | 42 ratings

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Heliocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Heliocentric' - The Ocean (6/10)

As the first in a two part companionship album revolving heavily around religious critique and a humanistic (and quite often negative) study of the Christian faith, 'Heliocentric' represents the beginning of a new era for Germany-based post metal act The Ocean. While I had listened to 'Anthropocentric' (the second half) before this one, I was already a fan of this band's complex and intelligent music from the 'Precambrian' days onwards, and my expectations were high for the next album. This band has always been prone to take on the most ambitious topics ('Precambrian' revolved around the creation of the Earth itself) and 'Heliocentric' is no exception to this rule. A deeply thought-provoking concept by all standards, 'Heliocentric' does ultimately disappoint my high expectations however. While the album is graced with some brilliant moments and lyrics that will surely upstart more than a few existential debates, the band's new direction does feel basic and less effectively executed than some of the great albums they have released in the past.

With a new vocalist here, the sound of the band is obviously changed a fair bit. While the abrasive growls are the same as they have always been (that is, a mixed bag), the introduction of Loic Rossetti is one of the more skilled singers the band has seen through its revolving door of musicians. However, while 'Anthropocentric' shows the singer's talent in an excellent light, 'Heliocentric' feels as if it stretches the vocalist's style in the wrong direction, usually towards a more abrasive direction that could vaguely be compared with the harsh style of Metallica vocalist James Hetfield. Ironically, many aspects of The Ocean's music have actually become much more melodic and harmonious since the atonal and unsettling sounds of 2007's 'Precambrian'. Even going as far as to have a piano-driven ballad like 'Ptolemy Was Wrong', 'Heliocentric' does see the band going in a slightly less complex direction with their music, and that did often feel to me like The Ocean's greatest strength; their meticulously crafted arrangements. Songs like 'Metaphysics Of The Hangman' are driven by chorus structures, and while this doesn't necessarily mean that the music will be worse, in The Ocean's case, it does. Mixed results on Rossetti's new vocals,some inconsistent writing, and a more accessible direction? Doesn't sound good, but the album is far from being poor, and still sports a good deal of strengths.

First among the positive aspects of 'Heliocentric' is the lyrical content and concept. On an even calibre with 'Anthropocentric' here, the lyrics generally revolve around the Church's resentment towards science, as well as to debunk Creationism (a theme further developed with the second part) and question the existence of a divine entity. While this will offend some Christian listeners surely, the lyrics are written quite tastefully, touching upon the subjects through a poetic, often metaphorical language that really becomes the highlight of the album.

The Ocean's 'Heliocentric' is certainly one of the weaker points of The Ocean's career, especially considering when the band has had such success with releasing absolutely phenomenal records. in the past. However, tracks like 'Firmament' and 'The Origin Of Species' and a few others provide a great listening experience typical of the band's output. While the album did not reach my expectations however, it would pave the way for 'Anthropocentric', which is the real masterpiece to be spawned from this project.

 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 73 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Anthropocentric' - The Ocean (9/10)

With 2007's 'Precambrian', German post-metal group The Ocean (also known as Ocean Collective) came out with a two disc concept epic concerning nothing less than the turbulent creation of the planet Earth. To follow up something so vast, 2010 witnessed the band now releasing two companion albums, each dealing with such topics as the creation of man, the idea of god, and religion. Suffice to say, The Ocean are never short of ambition in the projects they choose to take. While the critique of religion and faith is as ripe a concept as any for a metal album, 'Heliocentric' did end up being a bit of a disappointment. Luckily, the second installment in this chapter of The Ocean turned out to be quite a return to power for the band. With 'Anthropocentric', The Ocean releases one of their most potent efforts yet, with a concept and lyrical content as profound and fiery as the music it is driven by.

When speaking of the sound of this album, there is definitely a more conventional melodic sense here (like 'Heliocentric') than there used to be, in no small part due to the addition of new vocalist Loïc Rossetti, whose clean singing is featured quite prominently here. However, unlike 'Heliocentric', very little of the heaviness and experimentation is relinquished, and there is a very good balance between the heavier vocals and lighter melodic singing. With many of the songs, the clean vocals make some pretty catchy and memorable hooks, but luckily don't feel superficial by doing so.

The title track leads off the album in full force; a nine minute episode of sludgy heaviness, mixed with rhythmic experimentation. While the track begins in a very typical, atonal style for The Ocean, the differences and developments start to be heard when the clean vocals come in, three and a half minutes into the album. In direct contrast to the brute growls, the vocals are often beautifully harmonized, although some of the more stylized singing of Loïc Rossetti can get a tad nasal at times. At least as far as the first track is concerned, the highlights reside in the beautiful mellower moments, where The Ocean gets to properly show their new grasp for great melodies.

Another highlight of the album is the single-worthy 'She Was The Universe', which is a memorable powerhouse from start to finish, despite being highly rhythmically irregular. Along with many of the songs here, the chorus is kept quite melodic. Other noteworthy songs include 'The Grand Inquisitor III', which is the most 'out there' track on 'Anthropocentric'- an electronic trip-hop acid tweak of an interlude- and 'Willie Zum Untergang', a very post-rockish track that showcases the band's more ethereal nature. The only song here that isn't excellent is 'Sewers Of The Soul', which keeps a relatively up- tempo, rock vibe without showing the same compositional complexity and intricacy of the rest of the album.

Lyrically, the material here is bound to cause some controversy, especially among the more religiously-inclined listeners. As was true with 'Heliocentric', 'Anthropocentric' is a harsh, to- the-point critique of Christian fundamentalism and hypocrisy. Philosophical opinions aside, the subject matter is intregated well into a sort of intellectual and thought-provoking poetry that's sure to stir up some debate amongst metalheads.

'Anthropocentric' may very well be a rival of 'Precambrian' for The Ocean's greatest work to date. Despite having one or two songs that feel a bit less inspired than the rest, 'Anthropocentric' is a true definition of the 'thinking man's metal'; highly complex and frenetic sludge metal, mixed with a truly ambitious scope. An imperfect album, but The Ocean's mastery of aesthetic and innovation is readily evident in spades.

 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 73 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Almightiness Contradiction

Anthropocentric is the perfect definition of a hit-and-miss album for me. There are some huge "hits" that border on masterpiece status, yet there is a decent portion of music here that just fails to capture me in any way. Not because it's bad - if you're a fan of The Ocean, you should love this entire album. The issue here is mainly just a feeling of inconsistency - the mellow post rock and progressive metal sections are very inspired and enjoyable, whereas the post-hardcore sections leave me cold. Although many will disagree with me, I wholeheartedly believe that The Ocean is much better when playing softer music. The Opeth-influenced heavy/light contrasts are something that these guys just can't quite pull off without a slightly awkward atmosphere. It's really a shame, considering all of the fantastic moments on Anthropocentric. If you're a fan of The Ocean or experimental sludge/post metal in general, this is still more than worth an acquisition.

The sound here is experimental/progressive sludge-oriented post metal/hardcore (which is quite a mouthful, to say the least). There are plenty of influences from the post metal scene, as well as bands like Mastodon and even Opeth (mainly in the song structures). The mellow post rock/metal sections are the ones I find myself enjoying the most here - a song like "The Almightiness Contradiction" and "Willie Zum Undertang" is a perfect example of how amazing The Ocean can be. Unfortunately, heavier songs like "Sewers of the Soul" drag down my experience significantly. I enjoy heavy music, but The Ocean sounds a bit uninspired when playing hardcore sections. With that said, almost every song has a few redeemable qualities. Even "Sewers of the Soul" (my least favorite song here) has a solid guitar solo that brings the rest of the song up from pure mediocrity. Another big asset to Anthropocentric is the fantastic musicianship - The Ocean is an extremely tight playing unit, boasting some of the best musicianship in the genre. The two guitarists (Robin Staps and Jonathan Nido) are especially notable, mainly due their terrific guitar harmonies. In a song like "Willie Zum Undertang" it's clear how beautifully these guys can play. The vocals are a bit of a mixed bag for me, but they are always professional and well-done.

The production is great. Anthropocentric sounds absolutely wonderful. Everything sounds clean and crisp - I especially have to applaud the terrific sound of the drums.

Conclusion:

Although I can't say that Anthropocentric is an album that really amazed me, calling it anything less than high-quality would be a lie. I find myself enjoying the softer parts the most, but that's not to say that the heavier sections are poorly made. Fans of The Ocean will adore this album, and I also enjoy it to some extent. For an album that is high-quality, will satisfy the band's fanbase, and attract new fans, 3.5 stars are well deserved. Though far from essential, this still comes as a recommended purchase for post metal fans.

 Fluxion by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 34 ratings

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Fluxion
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Fogdiver by OCEAN, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.71 | 10 ratings

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Fogdiver
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to burritounit for the artist addition.

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