...And Oceans - As In Gardens, So In Tombs review
|Album:||As In Gardens, So In Tombs|
|Release date:||January 2023|
01. As In Gardens, So In Tombs
02. The Collector And His Construct
03. Within Fire And Crystal
04. Carried On Lead Wings
05. Likt Törnen Genom Kött
06. Cloud Heads
07. Wine Into Water
08. Inverse Magnification Matrix
09. The Earth Canvas
10. Ambivalent God
11. Samlarens Valv [deluxe edition bonus]
12. Third Eye Catalyst [deluxe edition bonus]
It's official, ...And Oceans are well and truly back on the metal map now, with their second release in 21 years ,As in Gardens, So in Tombs, a more than ideal album for fans that want a trip down memory lane to reminisce the glory days of 90s symphonic and melodic black metal.
...And Oceans may not be as well known in symphonic black metal as the great pioneers Dimmu Borgir and Emperor, but they certainly made an impact on the sub-genre during its heyday in the late nineties. After an almost twenty-year absence, ...And Oceans made an impressive comeback with their fifth release Cosmic World Mother, an album that proved the band had in no way lost their touch despite their lengthy absence. Now, three years later, they drop another bombshell; this time, it's their sixth release As in Gardens, So in Tombs, where yet again they show no indication of letting off steam, presenting to us a release that is even more epic, melodious, ferocious, and devastatingly heavy.
So what makes this album special? Let's start with the less important matter in hand, which is the striking cover art designed by Adrien Bousson, whose stunning abstract style of art has featured on many more metal band album covers in recent years. It looks very impressive I know, but that's all I'm going to say about the subject; let's put that stunning artwork aside and focus on the music in hand, which, in a nutshell is symphonic black metal with strong melodic black elements.
As in Gardens, So in Tombs differs from the familiar symphonic black metal sound, as here the band seemingly hold back on the symphonies, allowing the instrumentation to shine through more. The melodic guitar leads and meaty riffs take centre stage above all, giving the album a borderline melodic black experience as opposed to purely symphonic. The album still contains the typical shrieks and blast beats, which come as no surprise, but most importantly the symphonic elements are still present throughout, with that opening build-up on the track "Cloud Heads" standing out as a true remnant of that epic 90s symphonic black metal sound, so not all is lost in that regard.
Although the album holds back on the symphonic approach to take a more melodic black route, the melodies aren't necessarily all that striking or stand out; instead they almost seem predictable and maybe repetitive, but they flow at such a ferocious tempo and, with most tracks being around the four-to-five minute mark, they seem like they're over in a flash, which only made me want to spin this album again and again, which is always a good sign.
As in Gardens, So in Tombs is an all round impressive album that clearly shows ...And Oceans' return had in no way been in vain, and for many this could even well be their best release to date.
||Written on 31.01.2023 by|
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