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THE OCEAN

Experimental/Post Metal • Germany


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The Ocean picture
The Ocean biography
Founded in Berlin, Germany in 2000

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".

- Sebastian Maldonado (burritounit) -

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THE OCEAN discography


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

3.87 | 41 ratings
Fluxion
2004
3.84 | 37 ratings
Aeolian
2006
4.01 | 91 ratings
Precambrian
2007
3.70 | 54 ratings
Heliocentric
2010
3.98 | 85 ratings
Anthropocentric
2010
3.94 | 130 ratings
Pelagial
2013
4.16 | 46 ratings
Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic
2018

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)

4.43 | 7 ratings
Fluxion/Aeolian
2005

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

3.20 | 6 ratings
Islands/Tides
2001
5.00 | 3 ratings
2nd Demo
2002
3.71 | 13 ratings
Fogdiver
2003
5.00 | 3 ratings
Queen of the Food-Chain/Inertia
2005
4.60 | 5 ratings
Transcendental
2015

THE OCEAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.16 | 46 ratings

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Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A few months back, I had the privilege of watching this band in concert. It truly was a privilege. I have seen Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Satyricon apart from a bunch of Indian metal/rock bands in concert. The Iron Maiden show in particular was unforgettable as over 30,000 fans had gathered for what was Maiden's first show in India and we screamed out the lyrics along with Bruce Dickinson all the way till the end. The Ocean show I attended was in a small performing area attached to a pub and was attended by 100 fans tops in a venue that could have accommodated. And it was hands down the best rock/metal show I have attended. Nothing else has ever come close. This is doubtless also a product of the limited opportunities I get to watch top notch international acts. But it is equally a tribute to the incredible musicianship of Ocean, be it their energy or their precision or their eclecticism.

Yes, Rossetti's vocals ARE effective both when he's doing those growled screams and when he's singing clean. They performed this whole album and he can keep it up song after song without a drop in intensity. If he lost pitch ever, I didn't hear it. And he crowdsurfed while still singing, yes! He also came up with jaw dropping sustained screams. Needless to say, he does everything in the studio too that he does live.

Stags and Hagerstrand double up to form a super-heavy rhythm section. Man, are those riffs crushing. They mount a wall of heaviness so formidable and imposing you just watch and listen in astonishment without complaining about the lack of solos. Or the fact that the music largely stays in a mid range tempo. There are ebbs and crests but rarely do they play at thrash/death metal tempos. You THINK song after song of despairing, slow/mid tempo sludge metal is gonna get boring fast but the heaviness by itself is so awesome to behold you are gasping for breath instead.

The other reason it doesn't get boring is the drummer Paul Seidel. Bespectacled and genial (like a metal version of John Weathers), he is incredibly creative with his fills whilst also possessing the chops to pull off those intense, brutal metal breakdowns. He keeps changing up things just enough to nip any signs of monotony in the bud.

It is hard for me to describe the tracks very specifically on an individual basis. Ocean specialises in concept albums and the songs are deeply related and do run together. It is NOT a bad thing if you think of it as a sort of metal symphony as opposed to requiring lots of variety from one track to another. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of variation in here but the songwriting is cohesive to the point that it gets hard to separate one track from the other. It is best heard in one go from start to finish and the terrific production doesn't hurt at all.

The one possible flipside is that if for some reason, this kind of music isn't really your thing, NOTHING on here is going to work. But I can't imagine why that would be. If you read this up to this point, you are a metal listener aware of where metal is at these days without nostalgic yearning for the days when metal bands were slotted in very specific genres and made the same album again and again in service of genre purity.

As is the case with these awesome 21st century metal bands, Ocean is a hybrid that draws from metal through the ages to come up with something that is undeniably and unabashedly metal and yet doesn't sound like a rehash of metal classics like, I don't know, Altars of Madness, Obscura, Transcendence, None So Vile, etc. And they have done it again and again through the course of a long career. It's a wonder they aren't better known than they are. This album is as good an introduction to their work as any.

 Precambrian by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 91 ratings

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Precambrian
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Precambrian offers up two distinct musical trips, with an overarching theme concerning the earliest phases of Earth's formation. Hadean/Archaean offers about 20 minutes of direct aggression; Proterozoic offers an hour of more contemplative atmospheric sludge metal veering into progressive rock or New Age music at points. The full 80 minute package is, to be honest, a bit of a chore to listen to - but break it up into its two component parts and select the piece which suits your current mood better, and the overall package is substantially improved. Let's say it's a three star album packaged with a four star album - but which is which will hinge on the tastes of the individual listener.
 Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.16 | 46 ratings

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Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Metal is dead they say! But is it? Of course not but the naysayers seem to think that since there is no unifying metal band such as a Led Zeppelin, a Metallica or an Iron Maiden to rally around in the 21st century that the grandiose nature of the genre surely must be just a pathetic shadow of its former glory. Au contraire! The metal universe has never been so large and seen so many torches carried from the past masters and an even greater number of new torches being lit seemingly every single day. The big bang that began in the late 60s with proto-metal bands like Gun, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Iron Butterfly just to name a few, quickly led to the first metal oriented bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. While it would take a decade or so for the genre to branch off from the parent trunk, once the process began, it splintered off into a million directions and well into the 21st century we are treated to a genre that can seemingly adapt to any disparate musical style and inspiration that has ever been proposed.

Bands like THE OCEAN remind me of exactly how far the metal genre has evolved since its humble nascency that was a mere angsty reaction to the blues oriented rock. This German band while starting out in their own state of sludge metal disquietude has continually ratcheted up the complexity of their albums as they went from a chaotically noisy punk infused sludge metal band to a bona fide progressive behemoth that tamed their aggressive tendencies and funneled them into a more post-metal paradigm that implemented the incredibly diverse classical music elements and electronic sounds that have placed them in a rather unique niche of the progressive metal universe. Led by founder and guitarist Robin Staps, this band that is also known as THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE found a more stable lineup beginning with their album "Heliocentric" and has continued to awe and amaze the world with a series of sophisticated albums that uniquely incorporate Earth's geologic history into the compositional process and while the geologic themes presented in all their nerdiness may seem a tad eccentric, the fact is that this band is absolutely brilliant in how they adapt the geological themes to the more personal human level of reality.

The title of THE OCEAN's 7th studio album (not counting re-recordings, EPs or demos) is officially PHANEROZOIC I - PALAEOZOIC, so first of all we need a few definitions of the title so that the lyrical content makes a lot more sense. The PHANEROZOIC eon is the current geologic eon in the time scale which hosts the most abundant eon for all flora and fauna that has ever existed and began 541 million years ago with the Cambrian period when a huge diversity of hard-shelled animals made their debut onto life's stage. The PALAEOZOIC era (also spelled PALEOZOIC) is the earliest of three geologic eras (the others being the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic) of the PHANEROZOIC era and lasted from 541 to 251 millions ago. THE OCEAN is serious about their scientific terminology and the seven mostly lengthy tracks tackle the unthinkable task of narrating the geological periods that the PALAEOZOIC era is divided into. There are only six periods, however the beginning Cambrian is divided into two tracks with the other periods following, the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous (if you're really a nerd you'd know this period is divided into two sub-periods, the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian!) and last but not least the Permian whose ending saw one of planet Earth's largest mass extinctions in its entire history. That's your geology lesson for the day, so how about the music?

As i've already stated, THE OCEAN may insinuate that the lyrical content comes right out of a university text book but in fact, the lyrics are quite nebulous and have double meanings while relating to the geologic narrative, they also incorporate the personal aspects of life. THE OCEAN seems to get more ambitious with each release and this latest endeavor is certainly no exception to that trend. While it's true that THE OCEAN do not deviate from what came before and stick to their carved out niche like a scuba diver to an air tank, what THE OCEAN does accomplish on PHANEROZOIC is a nice mix of their early heavy chunky guitar riffs of sludge metal with frantic screamed vocals mixed with the sensual amorphous classical meanderings that showcase tender clean vocals with supplemental instrumentation that includes cello, trumpet, trombone, piano and symphonic atmospheres that find the band pulling a Jekyll & Hyde for much of the album.

One uniting factor is the progressive workouts that permeate both aggressive and placid aspects of the band as irregular time signature rich cadences jitter by with the accompaniment of jazzy drum gymnastics and hypnotizing post-metal meanderings that find repetitious riffing slowly transmogrify into a larger picture much like the geologic eras that change so slowly that we cannot perceive them. While the previous album "Pelagial" was in danger of exterminating the sludge metal aspects of THE OCEAN's own musical history, PHANEROZOIC unapologetically brings back the harsher aspects of the band's earliest recordings without sacrificing the progressive and atmospheric accomplishments they've accrued since their 2007 landmark album "Precambrian." Suffice it to say, THE OCEAN strike a mean balance between their harshest moments of albums like "Aeolian" and the post-rock serenity of "Pelagial." PHANEROZOIC finds the perfect balance between these two worlds and best of all this wider sonic spectrum is brilliantly mixed with a production value that perfectly balances the distorted metal outbursts with the exquisitely divine orchestral moments. While the final track is titled "Permian: The Great Dying," it seems safe to bet that THE OCEAN won't go extinct anytime soon. This phenomenal work is by far one of 2018's most ambitious metal projects even if it hasn't exactly expanded the elements that they are known for.

 Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.16 | 46 ratings

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Phanerozoic I - Palaeozoic
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.

 Heliocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.70 | 54 ratings

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Heliocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars I just started listening to The Ocean, and I am thoroughly enjoying the catalog of albums. Heliocentric is the least heavy album from the group, but it follows a more traditional progressive metal path rather than the extreme nature of the other releases. I absolutely love their top albums that mix extreme metal, metalcore, and progressive rock. However, Heliocentric has superb songwriting wrapped in a nice, neat, metaphysical box. It is an underrated release, and one that should be revisited and reviewed on it's own merit. Like other albums, it has excellent musicianship and stellar mastering that makes the bass and drums pop. Anyone not familiar with them would feel right at home if they are fans of Between The Buried and Me, another band I love. This is great stuff, and highly recommended.
 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 85 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
3.98 | 85 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
4.01 | 91 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 | 130 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
4.01 | 91 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.

Thanks to burritounit for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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