Release date: 02nd November 2018 || Genre: Post-metal/doom || Label: Metal Blade Records
It seems to be a big time for slow-paced post metal right now, so we’re attempting to scoop up a few releases which passed under our sight recently. The Ocean are one such option, with their Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic album out last November. The Germans have been on the go for nearly twenty years, touted under the banner of progressive metal by some. I find them to be closer to post metal, employing more crescendoing power than technical intricacies (early albums Aeolian and Precambrian being possible exceptions).
This genre is fantastic for delivering a sensation of magnitude, but, on Phanerozoic I…, The Ocean do so in a way that is more reminiscent of slower moments from current metal titans, Gojira. Except, with the “cat squeals” and the like replaced by strings and lo-fi horror synth. This, and the contrast of throaty roars against almost-classic-rock cleans is what sets them apart from the crowd, for me. It’s not album you can rush into, either. You have to take it in en masse to really get it. Take a walk with it, or a long flight. Get to know it. That’s where the rewards lie. I’ve done this a lot, and am still discovering new, subtle flavours within. The trinket box continues to turn over delightful surprises on each revisiting.
This is an excellently crafted album, which is sadly a bit of rarity these days. They do exist, but it is not the norm, as digital singles and EPs are being pushed hard, and I can see the reasoning. From a personal standpoint, however, something like this is much more of a gift. Go ahead. Spoil yourself.