Review 1721 : The Ocean – Holocene – English

New album for The Ocean Collective.

Formed in 2000 in Germany, the band led by Robin Staps (guitar, live for The Old Wind), Loïc Rossetti (vocals), Paul Seidel (drums, Nightmarer), Mattias Hagerstrand (bass), David Ramis Åhfeldt (guitar) and Peter Voigtmann (keyboards) announces the release of Holocene, their eleventh album, through Pelagic Records.

The album opens with Preboreal, a mix of modern electronic sounds joined by the band’s Prog influences between Rock and Metal, complemented by soothing vocal parts. Saturation slowly ignites the rhythmic, leading us into its complex dissonance before letting Boreal offer mysterious and soaring tones, between two vocal appearances. The sound swells, then suddenly drops before strengthening again, letting heaviness participate in this wave of haunting tones which will fade away before Sea Of Reeds unveils dark keyboards, closely followed by mysterious melodies. The band’s jerky approach persists during the most intense parts, followed by a lighter quietness, which is followed by Atlantic, a soft composition guided by a heady groove. The long composition will suddenly accelerate, then calm down again to let brasses, percussions and synthetic elements surround us to welcome screams in the background and jerky riffs until this disturbing final which gives birth to Subboreal and its heady Trip-Hop tones, topped by catchy vocal parts, until this new explosion of intensity. The contrast between the two universes is striking, finally letting agressiveness gain ground before returning to dark keyboards on Unconformities, a long track where the band welcomes singer Karin Park, creating once again an interesting diversity in this growing rhythmic. Even the middle break will not be able to extinguish the rage which quickly resumes to turn into raw and repetitive wild screams, which will only end to let us slide to Parabiosis, a rather soothing track which lets keyboards express themselves again before the other instruments appear. The band unsurprisingly plays on a duality between all its elements again, letting them taking turn, and imperceptibly leading us to Subatlantic, the last composition, which will skilfully mix the band’s very numerous influences, whether they are opposed or complementary, to weave an as fascinating as surprising sound.

The Ocean masters sound meltings with a rare precision and passion. No matter what you like in their universe, the band exactly knows what to explode or smooth it with, making Holocene as rich as it is unpredictable.


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