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The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic CD (album) cover


The Ocean


Experimental/Post Metal

4.11 | 98 ratings

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Antonis Kalamoutsos
5 stars The 8th album of German act The Ocean Collective entitled Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (part II will be released in 2020), doesn't add any new elements to their previous discography and carries no innovation with it. It is not the first album that tries to achieve a perfect, natural balance between an enormous mid-tempo post/sludge style and the most progressive aspects of metal sound. Clearly, we have listened to myriads of albums that include huge riffs, extended atmospheric ambiences and great production. Of course, it's not the first metal album that combines its high dynamics with piano, cello and electronic sounds and, no discussion about it, we have listened to countless albums sang by phenomenal singers ? though I believe it is time to acknowledge Loic Rossetti as one of the best singers of our time. And despite the fact that Katatonia' s Jonas Renske can make even stones weep when he sings, we have listened to many collaborations in the past, as important as this one in ''Devonian: Nascent''.

Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic is not the first album that narrates stories regarding the powers of the earth, surrendering itself to nature-centric visions. It is not the first scientific or instructive album, neither the first one that makes us suspect that its lyrics hide essentially a great allegory ? the disasters, reconstructions and rebirths of the Phanerozoic era as geological symbols of human insignificance and of the little deaths and rebirths we experience in our everyday lives. The Ocean is not the first band to evoke feelings of ultimate decay or ultimate uplifting and this is not the first album to include dramatic or epic elements of this intensity. Many times in the past we have listened to music that created powerful imaginary images of seas that rise as mountains and of earthquakes that tear the land in pieces.

Analysing its characteristics, Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic should be just another good album, so how is it possible to feel so much more than that?

There is no reasonable explanation. It seems that the only one responsible for the creation of an album of this calibre is that vagabond, untamed lady that never marries or belongs to anyone, that never gets abused by anyone. That lady that ignores the begging of the great and answers to no prayers and, if she feels like it, she sits next to the ''small'' and ''humble'' of her choosing, uninvited and then departs again like a shadow, without any warning. The ancients called her Muse, we call her inspiration today but no matter how you call her, it seems that this wild entity fell in love with Robin Staps and his Berlin-based collective and obviously she didn't leave him alone not even for a moment while this album was being created. It's the only way to explain the fact that every note of this album seems to fulfill its causality and completely serve the purpose it was born for. And as the Milky Way's spiral can be compared with the spiral of a snail's shell, so the less than 50 minutes of this record compete with the 500 million years and the 5 mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic era, claiming the same root causes.

The Ocean Collective is not the first band that metal music ? with its modern, post-2000 aesthetic context ? should owe gratitude for the kiss of life it offers. Yet, until an album of that quality appears again, there is the possibility to be the last.

Antonis Kalamoutsos | 5/5 |


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