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Released: 2013, Metal Blade Records
Hailing from Berlin, The Ocean have made quite a name for themselves in the last decade by releasing some of the most critically loved progressive metalcore/hardcore ever released. Albums like PRECAMBRIAN (an astounding 99% rating on Metal-Archives!) have given the band an almost mythical reputation. It seems that despite a ridiculous number of member changes over the years, band leader Robin Staps has maintained his focus and drive.
PELAGIAL is the band’s sixth full-length album, and first that actually deals (if only metaphorically) with their namesake. Each track is titled after one of the aquatic layers but indeed, this is one of those albums that is better taken as a whole, without picking nits as to stand out tracks etc. It’s quite a ride too, as The Ocean takes us through an incredible number of moods, speeds, and emotions over the 53-minute runtime. The band’s sound is quite progressive and freeform for sludgy hardcore, and in truth, not overly heavy. As this is my first time hearing the band, I will not pretend to be an expert on their music, but I was struck by how “”free” they sound. While they do have verses & choruses etc., the whole album just flows into one large piece of music. Some of the longer pieces, such as “Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe” or “Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance” can linger too long, but it’s a minor quibble.
After years of reading about how great The Ocean is, I was excited to finally hear their music. While I’m not completely on board with what they’re doing, PELAGIAL is certainly an experience worthy of praise and one that I’m sure the band’s fans can pick up without fear.
2. Mesopelagic: The Uncanny
3. Bathyalpelagic I: Impasses
4. Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams
5. Bathyalpelagic III: Disequillibriated
6. Abyssopelagic I: Boundless Vasts
7. Abyssopelagic II: Signals of Anxiety
8. Hadopelagic I: Omen of the Deep
9. Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe
10. Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance
11. Benthic: The Origin of Our Wishes
Loic Rossetti: Vocals
Robin Staps: Guitar
Jona Nido: Guitar
Chris Breuer: Bass
Louis Jucker: Bass
Luc Hess: Drums
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