The Belgians Oceans of Sadness hit me by surprise with this, their fourth album. The band existed since ’95, and was to begin with supposedly inspired by bands as Type O Negative, Amorphis and Paradise Lost. Their previous albums were released in 2001, 2002 and 2004 on smaller companies, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I hadn’t heard about them before I got this in the mail, and to begin with I didn’t like it very much, but this could turn out to be an interesting acquaintance after all…
In their promo material they are described as avantgarde metallers, but what does that description cover?
First impression of the album in general is that we’re dealing with a band that is influenced by, and incorporates numerous of styles of metal and rock: melo-death, classic HM, modern/NU-metal, gothic, grunge, progressive, folk, and even modern jazz… not something that sinks in by first spin, but in the sound and style there was something appealing, that made me want to listen to it some more.
The lasting impression is progressive rock/metal mostly based on the composing/structuring of the tracks, with influences and inputs from the before mentioned styles in different parts of the numbers.
First track ”Mould” sets the progressive chord, that goes through the rest of the album: Marillion, Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater meets melodic death metal. The following title track is more death/black, but with some keyboard added, that gives it a modern metal edge, and a moshing part, that really grooves.
Next track, Cruel Sacrifice, starts out with a jazzy piano, that comes back in the bridge/chorus, mixed with a deep vocal that tends towards growl. The middle part is a “walking” piece that reminds of P.o.S., and the number ends in a faster pace.
On track 5 Intoxicate Me and track 8 Pride and Shame I get associations towards Nightwish in the guitar riffs, all though the vocal of course is quite different. Track 6 is a cover of Alice in Chains Them Bones, sung a bit different, and with keyboard and violin (!) added, but not that far from the original.
Silence Is Gold is (again) a mixture of death/black and the progressive style, that is significant of the album. Last track I Know You Know almost got a hymn-feeling to it, but also grooves quite well in some parts.
All in all a well produced album, with good, stable musicianship, and an interesting fusion of styles. It takes some time and attention to get into it, and I probably won’t use it for relaxation or when I need something hard or groovy, but maybe when I need to get challenged in what’s possible in todays metal. If you’d like to hear how many different musical styles and directions can be blended into one album, try this out, but be prepared for a challenge.