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The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic Award winner

The Ocean
Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
by Martin Knap at 26 November 2018, 3:23 PM

THE OCEAN are Berlin-based Progressive/Post-Metal band founded in 2000 and they have since released six full-length albums. Apart from that they’ve also released a split with the Japanese instrumental Post-Rock band MONO, which is fitting, because the band has also previously considered releasing an instrumental album and their last album “Pelagial” was released both with vocals and as an instrumental album only.

THE OCEAN have a certain penchant for grandiosity: in 2010 they’ve released two conceptual albums – “Heliocentric” and “Anthropocentric” – in which they’ve presented a philosophical critique of Christianity. “Pelagial”, perhaps their most acclaimed album so far, was a concept album about a submarine diving to the ocean’s deepest level, but it also made symbolic references to the psyche.

As far as lyrics go THE OCEAN doesn’t change course on “Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic” – their seventh studio album that is coming out five years after “Pelagial”. The album deals with Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence – the idea that everything happens over and over again throughout time and space. The song "Permian: The Great Dying" talks about a period when 95% of life on Earth was wiped out due to global warming – and obviously we’re alerted to the fact that this might just be about to “recur”.

The first song “Cambrian II: Eternal Reccurence” comes after a somber atmospheric intro titled “The Cambrian Explosion”, which refers to a period when many complex animals suddenly appear on Earth. The song shifts between a verse with big, bouncy riffs, ice cold atmosphere and harsh, angsty vocals and a mellow, melancholic chorus with clean vocals. After a heavy midsection comes a smooth instrumental section and the song slowly fades out before the chorus is brought back one more time.

All songs other than “Cambrian”, “Ordovicius” and a shorter instrumental piece are over nine minutes long. “Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions” is one of these longer, proggy songs. Rather than going from harsh to mellow like the previous two songs, this song has a very explosive chorus, which only comes almost half-way into the song. The song also has an extended mellow passage with piano and violin, after which comes a heavy instrumental passage with brass instruments.

The 11 minutes long “Devonian: Nascent” has a Post-Rock-like opening after which comes a melancholic verse and a big, emotional chorus, both of which remind me of KATATONIA’s sadness and bleakness – it sounds absolutely glorious. As one might expect with such a long song, there is a compositional shift and the second half the song is much heavier. With “Permian: The Great Dying” there is a bit of shift in mood – there is melancholy and angst in the song too, but it’s not the dominant tone.

The five years long wait has paid off folks. THE OCEAN deliver another cohesive album with powerful, epic songs. It is packed with thick atmosphere, beautiful melody and epic songwriting – the greatness is undeniable. THE OCEAN are a band on top of their game and prove it again with “Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic”.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. The Cambrian Explosion
2. Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence
3. Ordovicium: The Glaciation of Gondwana
4. Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions
5. Devonian: Nascent
6. The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse
7. Permian: The Great Dying
Robin Staps – Guitars
Loïc Rossetti – Vocals
Paul Seidel – Drums
Mattias Hagerstrand – Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 04 June 2020

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