The Ocean - _Aeolian_
(Metal Blade, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
There's a number of angles I could conceivably take with this, but for the time being I'll try my best to avoid the hackneyed yin and yang comparisons that will undoubtedly be used to describe this German collective's follow-up to _Fluxion_ -- or as they bill it, its "heavier twin".

Heavier indeed. Those who are expecting similarly lush and expansive ambient forays are in for something of a shock. _Aeolian_, as it quickly becomes evident, is a relentless and pounding exercise in sonic vernacularity. Much of the melodic sensibility of _Fluxion_ and The Ocean's debut opus, _Fogdiver_, including the violins, dense layers of samples and electronics, has been cast aside almost entirely; and while Metal Blade have been eager to draw comparisons to such luminaries as Neurosis and Mastodon, the grinding chug of Meshuggah is an influence that is far more prominent. However, _Aeolian_ is a far more mature, complex and I dare say, challenging record than _Catch 33_, and even at 55:31 it's less self-indulgent than much of the latter band's discography.

That said, album length is something of a sticking point here, and past the forty minute mark it does become a case of too much of a good thing. It also begs the question as to why the band should choose to release _Aeolian_ after _Fluxion_, as this record makes for a far less mind-bending experience than its predecessor. Purely on its own merits though, The Ocean's latest opus is as engaging as anything you'll hear in 2005, and a definitive testament to the metal genre's continued capacity for delivering truly innovative material.


(article published 24/11/2005)

1/2/2006 J Smit The Ocean: Beyond the Fathomless Depths
8/23/2013 A El Naby 9 The Ocean - Pelagial
3/28/2011 P Azevedo The Ocean - Heliocentric / Anthropocentric
11/1/2011 D Lake The Devin Townsend Project / The Ocean / Rome Apart Ziltoid Invasion, Good Vibrations
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