Tuesday 16 October 2018

The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Labels: Pelagic Records/Metal Blade Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 02 Nov 2018


1. The Cambrian Explosion
2. Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence
3. Ordovicium: The Glaciation Of Gondwana
4. Silurian: Age Of Sea Scorpions
5. Devonian: Nascent
6. The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse
7. Permian: The Great Dying

Early November will see the release of the new album from German/Swiss post-metal band The Ocean Collective (probably better known as solely The Ocean. This will be the first of two records focusing on the Phanerozoic period of the earth's geological evolution, with the second coming in 2020. "Phanerozoic 1: Palaeozoic" will be released on cd and vinyl (both in separate full-band and instrumental forms) as well as special collectible box sets. For a band that's always followed a similar trajectory music and presentation-wise, this new record promises to be something special.

Beginning with the dramatic instrumental intro The Cambrian Explosion, The Ocean creates intrigue and anticipation through the use of keys and ambience that leads straight into Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence. The guitars loom large as the melody from the keys and synths form continuation. When the full band kicks in it’s an aural cacophony of harsh vocals, clean singing and stellar musical progression, which is what The Ocean is known for. The Ocean’s heaviness is plain to see on Ordovicium: The Glaciation Of Gondwana. It’s a magical song and while it’s shorter in length, there’s no passing up on the layers of warmth that come from the whole band. When The Ocean fires on all cylinders, they are a cut above.

You could make obvious comparisons at times to a certain US progressive metal band but that would be pointless and disrespectful to say the least. Silurian: Age Of Sea Scorpions sees The Ocean’s dynamic flipped with ocean vocals taking the lead to great effect. The piano definitely adds to their progressive nature as well. No one texture rules over the other despite what I said earlier on in this paragraph. Dense, engaging metal and classical elements work in harmony to make it one of the more conventional (in a listening sense) song’s on the album. Devonian: Nascent follows in the same vein and it makes me realise that I was a bit rude when calling Silurian… conventional. Both songs are soaring metal songs that seem happy to tread further from the genre’s confines and Devonian.. contains a grunge-like clean vocal tone that makes the hairs on your neck stand up, especially when backed up by the harsher growls. Being the longest song on the album, you might be fearing something pretentious but this couldn’t be further removed. 

The Ocean return to heavier realms on penultimate song The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse, which is mostly instrumental, save for the subtle screams that can be heard deep within the music (at least that’s what i’m hearing so correct me if I’m wrong). Album closer Permian: The Great Dying is the progressive beast that every album of this ilk should end with. This whole record is astounding and it’s made me fall in love with proper progressive music again. The Ocean may be leaning further away from the post-metal that helped them to make their name, but it’s no bad thing when they can produce music of this quality. They are set to become the biggest progressive metal band on the planet.

You can pre-order the album's closer via The Ocean's bandcamp page, where you can also pre-order it digitally and stream two songs:-

Physical pre-orders are available below:-

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