Metal Storm logo
Ocean Of Grief - Pale Existence review

Bandcamp music player

71 users:
Band: Ocean Of Grief
Album: Pale Existence
Release date: March 2023

01. Poetry For The Dead
02. Dale Of Haunted Shades
03. Unspoken Actions
04. Imprisoned Between Worlds
05. Cryptic Constellations
06. Pale Wisdom
07. Undeserving

Greece used to be the center of the world. The ancient civilization brought us the bounty of philosophy, the boon of drama, the laughter of comedy and the study of knowledge among other handy everyday things. Let us be reminded that Greece has also been an eternal beacon of great music. It may have been a contribution of a many cuts rather than a giant blow. Still, I can name fifteen Greek bands who have influenced my musical tastes. Ocean Of Grief, despite having only one full-length album to their name, are one of them. 2018's Nightfall's Lament was a tremendous opus of slow crushing melodic doom/death metal with serious teeth and serial hooks. Five years have passed since, and Ocean Of Grief have only improved.

Pale Existence marks their return to the front of the scene. Both guitarist Filippos Koliopanos and bassist Giannis Koskinas have had stints in On Thorns I Lay during the pandemic, and they seem to have brought back a renewed energy to their main band. The clarity of the guitar sound in the mix was a killer feature of Nightfall's Lament, reminding me one a way of another sonic sensation of a different genre such as Tribulation, and the same awesome treatment was applied to Pale Existence. The finished production is a crystal-clear antithesis of what you were probably expected from this sort of record but it works so well.

"Poetry For The Dead" sets the tone early on with a terrific melange of slow-acting melodic doom, crushing death metal a la Novembers Doom, and instrumental brilliance with exalted guitar work dripping with sadness and reflexion. "Dale Of Haunted Shades" turns on both the groove and the beast sound levels to the max with resounding effects. Some of the best olden Draconian vibes of yore are all over that one. There is also a jazzy break that brings in the whirlwind and morph the base structure into something grander. This is on par with Opeth in terms of fashioning a golem of a song out of separate bits. This is undoubtedly one outstanding track on Pale Existence.

I was delighted to discover a collaboration with a great name of the (recent) past, Sweden's Jari Lindholm, on "Unspoken Actions". This man is a brilliant guitarist and overall musician. He adds a little ray of hope on that track with his own sound. "Imprisoned Between Worlds" is another beast of a song, ever moving, ever flowing, and reminiscent of the genius of Saturnus. And while "Cryptic Constellations" starts like a logical continuation of everything that has happened so far, it cements the album by compounding everything that's been outstanding to date. And when you least expect it, it throws a curve ball in the form of an outstanding thundering guitar sound and monster riff midway through. Shivers down my spine on that one. The last two tracks are definitely on par with all of the above.

Fans of Saturnus, of Draconian, or of the darker side of Swallow The Sun do pay attention, Ocean Of Grief are definitely here for you to discover. Their ability to evoke despair through beautiful melodies layered upon a perma-bleak atmosphere is top-notch. The prominent focus on the guitar sound is hypnotic and tantalizing. The level of creativity on display within the confines of a well-define genre is off-the-hook once again. Pale Existence is one extremely solid album. It is only March, yet I fail to see how this one will not make my list for best albums of 2023.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written on 04.03.2023 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 102 users
06.03.2023 - 18:09

Great discovery! Thank you very much for the review. It is indeed a very interesting album.
06.03.2023 - 20:27
Rating: 8

Just today i listened to the album while at work, great stuff indeed/
07.03.2023 - 16:36
Rating: 8

Cheers for the review highlighting this album, definitely a great example of StS/Slumber/Enshine-style melodic death doom - the growls are a bit too funeral doomish to fit perfectly IMO, but no complaints with it otherwise!

Hits total: 1510 | This month: 6