The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (2018)


After unleashing one of the most gargantuan releases of 2013 with “Pelagial”, The Ocean comes back at us with part one (out of two) of the “Phanerozoic” releases. Intended to be in the middle of their “Precambrian” and “Heliocentric” / “Anthropocentric” releases, both conceptually and musically, this album showcases the band crafting their signature enigmatic atmospheres surrounded by heavy crushing riffs and melancholic vocal melodies.

Slowly building up in the opener “The Cambrian Explosion”, we are treated to an atmospheric opening with playful synths that creates tension and expectation. Things blow wide open on “Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence” as we are greeted with powerful guitar riffs and intricate drumming. This lush track perfectly layers the aggressive wall of sound with a combination of harsh growls and fragile clean vocal arrangements. Full of surprises, the band’s music is very carefully crafted to feature playful elements that are slowly discovered the more times you listen to each track.

The band’s cataclysmic sound is a perfect fit to their elaborate lyrical themes in songs like “Ordovicium: The Glaciation of Gondwana” and “Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions”, were we have very dramatic tempo changes and are surrounded by violent riffing onslaughts. Other more exploratory songs like “Devonian: Nascent” craft lush atmospheres that slowly progress into cathartic moments of brilliance. This last song also features a brilliant guest vocals appearance by Jonas Renkse, enhancing the moody nature of the song.

As the album winds down with the dramatic “The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse” and the funky “Permian: The Great Dying”, we can’t help but wonder how these songs will be brought to life with the band’s crushingly atmospheric live setup. The Ocean’s sound is a truly unique beast that is full of intricacies that even after listening to this record over 15 times, we are still finding new things hidden beneath all the layers in each song. “Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic” is definitely one of the band’s strongest releases and delivers their signature style in full force while keeping things fresh and exciting.

Bands: The Ocean Album: Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Label: Metal Blade Records

Release: November 2nd, 2018

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Genre: Post-Metal

Country: Germany

Rating: 93/100

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