The Ocean - Aeolian - 2006 - Metal Blade Records
|Track Listing1. The City in the Sea|
2. Dead Serious & Highly Professional
4. Killing the Flies
5. Une Saison En Efer
7. One with the Ocean
9. Queen of the Food Chain
Hailing from Germany, The Ocean is probably one of the most unique bands in the metal world today. They combine the sludgy/hardcore riffs of groups like Cult of Luna with innovative and sometimes bizarre ambient and symphonic effects. Anchored around songwriter/guitarist Robin Staps, the band uses an array of different musicians, both in the studio and live. For example, on “Aeolian,” no less than six different vocalists are used. Most notable among these is Nate Newton of Converge and Thomas Hallbom of Breach. Together the six provide a great variety in aggressive vocals from song to song, ranging from the deepest of growls to the highest of shrieks. Vocal variety, however, is only one of the many factors that make “Aeolian” a great album.
The best term to describe The Ocean’s music is chaos – but chaos with a surprising amount of planning, order, and organization. While on the first few listen it may seem that riffs are thrown almost randomly together like, say, Between the Buried and Me operate, after getting to know each song intimately distinct patterns emerge. The fact that most of the songs on “Aeolian” take a while to figure out makes them that much more enjoyable once the mind can fully wrap around them. In addition, vocal variety completes an already potent formula. I keep mentioning this factor, but it really contributes a lot of “Aeolian.” On “Une Saison En Efer,” for example, almost spoken shouts introduce the song, to be almost instantly replaces by harsh, bellowing screams. This kind of contrast keeps the listener at the edge of their seat – they never know what to expect next.
Fans of extreme and non-extreme metal alike must check out “Aeolian.” Their musical creativity is almost, but not quite, overshadowed by the vast array of vocalists found on the disc. I can’t possibly imagine any human being not being entertained by The Ocean’s unique approach to music.