The Ocean

Fluxion (Re-release)

Written by: TL on 07/06/2009 15:15:56

Some of our regular readers may know (and resent) me for consistently criticizing metal and hardcore bands for their lack of ambition and originality. One of the reasons I feel justified however, is The Ocean. The ever changing artists collective revolving around songwriter/guitarist Robin Staps simply sets the bar for what can be done with metal and hardcore music and they set it high indeed. The Ocean don't just settle for being heavy for the sake of it. They marry progressive metal with symphonic orchestration and the crunchy brutality of post hardcore in order to transcend ordinary song writing and bring the listener something more.

Aside from being genre pioneers, The Ocean are also known for being strong supporters of the protection of the album format, in fact they care so much about it that they have formed their own label to ensure that both their own band, their side projects and select few other bands that they like, are given the opportunity to release their music in the album format. Something that they have otherwise had problems with themselves in their early days. Their third album for instance was thought out as a double album, but was forced by the label to be released as two separate albums, "Fluxion" and "Aeolian", the former of which they have now re-released on their Pelagic Records label. The re-release features completely redone vocals by the band's current vocalist Mike Pilat, and has also been remixed and remastered from scratch, simply because the band was never happy with how it initially turned out.

"Fluxion" was originally thought out to be the softer half of the double-feature while "Aeolian" figured as the heavy one, and this is easily audible in comparison to the recently released, monolithic "Precambrian". Violins and other classic instruments play a much larger part, and the album is therefore a tad more accessible and atmospheric than its successors. However, this is still heavier than an avalanche, made so by means of crushing guitars and bass lines as well as the thick, coarse roar of Pilat. So even at the most tranquil of moments, "Fluxion" can still be compared to being lost in a dimly lit cave, so deep underground that you can feel gravity pressing on your lungs. However, the defining characteristic of it is simply how it stands miles above most metal and hardcore bands in terms of ambition and artistic vision. It is so thick and so composed and so dominating that it makes other band's vague attempts at being macho and hard look like children making faces.

There's no point in attempting to pick out details to exemplify "Fluxion"'s quality. One listen should make you aware of how this, as well as anything The Ocean does, simply radiates a quality that locates it in the most elite realms of hardcore and progressive metal. It's not something that seeds your mind with a narcotic need to come back for more. For that it is too solid and inaccessible. Like a jagged mountain daring you to climb it. But looking up at it, you know that if you do climb it, you will see a view like no other and feel a connection with it that you just don't get from listening to more mundane metallic music.

8

Download: This would be one of those albums where one track doesn't do the trick
For The Fans Of: Burst, Minsk, Intronaut, Cult Of Luna
Listen: myspace.com/theoceancollective

Release Date 12.05.2009
Pelagic Records

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