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And Oceans
August 2001
Released: 2001, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Lotsa controversy over this one. Black metal brigade ...And Oceans continue their exploration into the weird and wonderful and move further and further away from their Dimmu Borgir-inspired roots. Or so “they” tell me since I’ve never heard these guys’ music before. To my ears the music on this disc still firmly resides in the realm of black metal but with obvious leanings into other genres. In all honesty, I don’t know what all the fuss is about ‘cause this is still some pretty harsh, black stuff.

“Intelligence is Sexy” (talk about your non-traditional black metal subject matter!) opens that album in raging fashion. To me this is just quality black metal with added emphasis on keyboards. I mean, the guitars churn, the drumming is fierce blast-beats (yes, they are live and not programmed), the bass is inaudible, and Killstar’s vocals are barely intelligible screams. On the other hand, the keyboard work isn’t even close to the so-called “symphonic” style that infuses most black metal. Instead it is used somewhat more sparingly in a techno/trance kind of way. What’s more, it sounds damn cool!

Close-minded listeners can relax a bit ‘cause “White Synthetic Noise” is typical symphonic black metal all the way. Don’t get too comfortable though, ‘cause “Tears Have No Name” brings back the experimentation. It opens with a cool sounding keyboard loop (again “techno” sounding) before bursting into a furious double-bassed mid-paced assault. This is one of the best and catchiest songs I’ve heard all year. Deadly stuff!

The rest of the album follows in much the same manner, swinging from the expected blackened attacks (“Esprit De Corps”) to more experimental and interesting material (“Postfuturistika”). The key to the whole thing though is the consistently high quality of the songs throughout. This album is simply an entertaining listen from start to finish. If you’ve got a fairly open mind in your black metal, definitely pick this one up. Just beware of “New Model World”. Oh, and no, I will not type out the album’s full title! Haha!
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