The Ocean - Aeolian
The Ocean is new to Metal Blade records with this release, Aeolian, but the band has been around for a few years. And with a sound like this, I can imagine they will be sporting a HUGE following by time their next album hits the streets. While I'm not the biggest fan of the metalcore genre, this band just slays. If there is a "phrase dictionary" out there and you look up the phrase "freakin' brutal"...The Ocean would be one of the definitions. This album just hammers and pummels at you relentlessly for just shy of 53 minutes. If they are not raking you over the coals with insane metallic hardcore riffs, they are crushing you with blastbeats or backing you down with their growling or shrieking vocals. This band is just downright explosive. But to throw you off just a tad, they will mix in some way-cool old-timey samples from ancient vinyl records, then they may toss in some cello, or a punk-influenced song. You just never know. One thing is for certain, they WILL have your constant attention, or they will reach out and grab you by the throat and force this hard music masterpiece down your esophagus.
While The Ocean is not a sound-a-like of any band I know of, they will appeal greatly to fans of bands like Coalesce, Training for Utopia, Zao, and Spitfire. In fact, the band utilizes guest vocals from Tomas Hallbom of Breach, Nate Newton of Converge/Old Man Gloom, and Sean Ingram of Coalesce. As for the rest of the package, the artwork is extremely well done and the production is thick and full for a very powerful sound.
But not all is good in hard music land. Everybody has their own tastes, so I'm sure not everyone will feel the same as me, but the lyrics on this album are nothing but pure crap. Ok, so there are a few songs with some pretty creative lyrics. I'll give them that. But there are some others that are just plain sick!! I won't go into graphic details for the sake of decency, but songs like "Dead Serious & Highly Professional" and "Necrobabes.com" are simply disgusting. If I want to read about someone's opinions on sexual torture, rape, or beastiality, I'll....well dang it...I DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT CRAP LIKE THAT! I know the record labels don't want to censor and stuff (and I'll probably get kicked off their promo list for this), but co'mon Metal Blade...do you not ever say to yourselves..."ok, this is where we draw the line"? I can see stuff like this on some underground label that sells 20 copies of each release, but what the heck does this have to do with hard music and why is it being promoted to the masses? Isn't stuff like this illegal in most parts of the world? Don't people get arrested for stuff like this and spend years in prison? I know, I know, some bands have far worse lyrics than this. But I'm not reviewing those albums right now or I'd trash their idea of good lyrics as well. And I know I'll get the same criticism back at me because I also listen to music that speaks of Jesus and Christianity, but at least there is some decency there. Go for it...have your own beliefs. I'm all for freedom of choice in that respect. But I also believe in absolutes, and what some of the songs on this album stand for are absolutely perverted and repulsive. (Steps off soapbox...)
(As with a few other reviews I've written lately...let the hate mail begin).
In the end, I do love this band's sound and greatly enjoy most of this disc. However, the topic choices on a few songs are completely tasteless.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Metal Blade
Total Songs: 10
Total Time: 52:54
Tracklisting: 1. The City in the Sea, 2. Dead Serious & Highly Professional, 3. Austerity, 4. Killing the Flies, 5. Une Saison En Enfer, 6. Necrobabes.com, 7. One with the Ocean, 8. Swoon, 9. Queen of the Food-Chain, 10. Inertia.
Best Songs: Tracks 1, 3, 9, & 10.
Band Lineup: Torge Liekmann - Drums, Jonathan Heine - Bass, Gerd Kornmann - Percussion/Tools, Robin Staps - Guitars/Programming, Meta - Vocals.
Band Website: http://www.theoceancollective.com