Aeolian (Metal Blade)
by Martin Popoff
Like Opeth, Germany’s The Ocean has twinned a mellower album with a massive mastiff of a rocker, Aeolian being the venomous uptake to ’04’s Fluxion. Aeolian reads like the accessible Six Feet Under of artcore, the band birthing cogent, logical metal nuggets that sound like slowed-down Meshuggah with a rich, full-bodied recording. All manner of hardcore luminary is touched upon but then efficiently dispensed with, including the likes of Dillinger, Mastodon, Isis, Cult of Luna (guest stains by Coalesce’s Sean Ingram and Converge’s Nate Newton reinforce the living in this oeuvre). But there’s an anchoring as well, out of say, Morgion and Mindrot/Eyes of Fire and old metallic Neurosis. Meta’s vocals are a great googly hoary roar from the North. He sounds like he means it, like he’s pushing both air and ideas, unlike so many dry, wheezy – and frankly, very easy to execute – death barks these days. Sure, the rhythms are both complicated and distracting, but usually, they manage a groovy swirl, due to their mid-paced nature and again, the huge, boomy, warm production values. Painful, braying, bratty, and scattered: These words often apply to so much fly-off-the-handle-core bands, and the contrast of that pencil-armed bunch to this measured and thus leaden and rumbling approach clearly puts a band like The Ocean in a graver and greater grave.