What do sludge metal bands have with water, the seas or anything that lives in it? Mastodon made an entire album about Moby Dick and there are bands with names like "I Am the Ocean" and "Giant Squid". Then there's a band called The Ocean which comes from an area not known for its environment rich on water. Well, except for the old DDR swimming team maybe. Yes, these guys are German and come from the nation's capitol of Berlin for the most part. I probably just asked a stupid question and a question which I'll certainly not get answered, but I had to ask.
The Ocean has been going since 2000 and initially released this album in 2005. As with most bands in the genre, The Ocean makes music which is as thick as a brick. Intense music filled with walls of guitars, but - in The Ocean's case - also a lot of movie-soundtrack-like orchestrations. Formally speaking, they combine the slow pace of sludge metal with the rich song structures of post metal. Their nearest musical neighbour is probably Isis. The Ocean is actually an abbreviation of the name The Ocean Collective and there's a simple explanation for the full name: the band has eight members. That really is quite a collection, isn't it? Metal Blade did a good thing by re-releasing this CD, because it almost got lost into obscurity which is not a surprise considering the original was released on the Spanish Throne Records. Who, you ask? Yes, exactly, I never heard of them either. The Ocean's music is extremely suitable for long compositions, because then the music gets room to breathe. The shorter tracks all sound a bit forced and the band sounds a bit uncomfortable on these shorter tracks. Tracks like "Isla Del Sol" and "The Greatest Bane" are excellent and "The Human Stain" is even of a quality most bands can only dream of.
Too bad, that the other tracks can almost be labelled as fillers. I'll stay in sludge metal metaphors for the next two phrases. The shorter tracks are like fish out on the dry. The longer tunes however are as strong as a rampaging flood, as deep as the oceans and yet can be as peaceful as a slow streaming creek.
2. The Human Stain
3. Comfort Zones
7. Dead On The Whole
8. Isla Del Sol
9. The Greatest Bane