The Ocean - Pelagial review

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Band: The Ocean
Album: Pelagial
Release date: April 2013

Disc I
01. Epipelagic
02. Mesopelagic: Into The Uncanny
03. Bathyalpelagic I: Impasses
04. Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish In Dreams
05. Bathyalpelagic III: Disequillibrated
06. Abyssopelagic I: Boundless Vasts
07. Abyssopelagic II: Signals Of Anxiety
08. Hadopelagic I: Omen Of The Deep
09. Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe
10. Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance
11. Benthic: The Origin Of Our Wishes

Disc II [Instrumental]

It's clear that The Ocean are out to leave an impression with their latest release. It takes their imagery to its fullest expression yet, combined with lyrical inspiration taken from the 1979 sci-fi film "Stalker." Before you is a listening experience that aims at a thought provoking dive into an environment to which The Ocean are entirely accustomed. The question is do they achieve this goal; is it worth the plunge? Let me tell you, you're going to want more than to just dip your toes into this one.

Pelagial is well layered, divided as it is into seven "pelagial zones" or the various levels of oceanic waters. Each of these zones bring something different and as you pass through them and sink deeper into the album its varied nature becomes increasingly obvious. The progressive depths of this sludge and post metal mix are often churned with the technical delivery in the guitars, forming key points of focus throughout the initial stages of album. The additional effects designed to create atmosphere are connected to the album's theme with the sounds of submersion beneath bubbling water.

Of all the zones the three part Bathyalpelagic is the most direct and where the vocals are best represented, their constant changeover between clean to hardcore abrasion aiding the swifter pacing. The further beneath this zone you sink the more the vocal work seems to lose its dominance as the sludge steadily decreases in pace and the post metal holds a stronger and more formative presence. Obviously if you opt for the instrumental version of the album the vocals are stripped away, further revealing an impressive display of drum work and constant interplay between the guitars, bass and symphonic layers. Yet this also removes the album's hardcore essence, a remarkable feature of the band's sound, which is mainly brought through in the dual stylings of Rossetti and Staps.

By the Abyssopelagic zone the vocals begin to recede deeper into the mix and hold less of a domineering role. This zone is a particularly melodic one where the "Boundless Vasts" of the first part are felt through an evocative and guitar twining introduction which becomes something astonishingly diverse within its three and a half minute frame, ending on a solemn note. The second part represents the point at which the sound changes dramatically, forming an atmospherically drenched sludge around a central melodic line.

The symphonic additions receive particular attention within the song writing. From the outset they are a point of focus in the first two tracks or as the transition is made through and into the subsequent pelagial zones they are used sparingly but to great effect as they fall beneath the crushing pressures at the album's very depths, such as in the "Demersal" zone with the piano keys occupying the background.

The clarity of expression is what makes this album truly impressive. Each of the tracks and each of the pelagial zones are distinguishable and effectively follow the band's predetermined direction. The Ocean have evident control of their sound and the ability to write an identifiable and vivid sequence in their musical exploration of the pelagial zones is well represented.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 05.05.2013 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 16   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 453 users
05.05.2013 - 15:20
Account deleted
You got me interested.
05.05.2013 - 16:02
Ya I seriously want this one now, awesome review.
05.05.2013 - 16:49
Great release - really love the diversity of the disc!
05.05.2013 - 17:09
Au Pays Natal
Best review you've ever written my friend, have a on me. As for the album I don't know where I stand on it yet. Needs a few more touches. I think it might be their best work since Precambrian.
05.05.2013 - 19:41
Account deleted
As always, pretty spot-on. Great album.
05.05.2013 - 21:16
Really interesting review, might give album a listen.
06.05.2013 - 11:46
The Ocean aways knew how to pull off conceptual albums.
06.05.2013 - 18:37
I think this is my favourite album of the year so far. The review is pretty spot-on too!
07.05.2013 - 16:06
Concept for this album pleases me as it is based off one of my favourite films. Sounds fantastic as per usual from this band.
07.05.2013 - 23:13
Great review indeed (especially your last paragraph on ''clarity of expression'' considering the diverse details you listed about the album before it, absolved my concern reading the rest that some sections may not stand on their own, so to speak), will give this a listen asap.
16.05.2013 - 20:15
Hard to digest, but also a great masterpiece. It's The mighty collective, for all we know. I never thought they would sound disappointing.

Thanks for the review.
13.06.2013 - 04:23
Hey! This album is the shizzle! I read this review a while back but just now heard the album. Definitely hear the "zones" of which you speak
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
01.08.2013 - 15:30
Spirit Molecule
spirit molecule
I've been spinning this and it definitely is a kickass album. These dudes sure know how to do it right.
I have no clue how Robin sits and writes this stuff, it's just crazy.
If you never wake up from a dream does it become reality?

Last fm
Don't click here
09.09.2013 - 00:55
Greg L.
Great review R'Vannith! Very addicting album!
21.12.2013 - 09:47
Yea absolutely incredible review and arguably the best album of the year. What a great year for us metalheads
31.01.2014 - 05:22
Best Post-Metal album in 2013.

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