Oceano - _Depths_
(Earache Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (6 out of 10)
For the majority of musical trends there's always a keystone release that truly sounds its death knell; the one record that appears to have distilled all that the sub-genre has to offer into a singular, sleek package which initially may appear to be ticking all the right boxes, but soon reveals itself to be an utterly vapid exercise. For nu metal it was Hed(pe)'s _Broke_ -- an album that seemed custom-made for Fred Durst's then-sizeable following, yet quickly snuck into bargain bins the world over when these same fans started to cotton on to the fact that the wheels were coming off the bandwagon. Only hindsight will tell quite how close Oceano's _Depths_ was to being deathcore's last gasp for air, but it's certainly not far off.

The funny thing is that at first songs like "Inhuman Affliction" suggest that these Chicago boys have distinctly more to offer than most of their fellow chug-disciples. Along with its follow up, "A Mandatory Sacrifice", this song is buckling under the strain of razor-sharp riffing and a bottom-heavy rhythm section that will test the most durable sound systems. Vocalist Adam Warren's thick, guttural roar is almost adamantly incomprehensible, yet complements the music perfectly. But it's at the tail-end of "A Mandatory Sacrifice" that it becomes clear Oceano have managed to fill at least three quarters of a full-length with endless sequences of palm-muted chugging; so much so that by the time you reach the album's conclusion you feel as though you've been listening to the same song for twenty minutes. A few further exceptions aside (notably the orchestral opening to "With Legions"), large chunks of Oceano's debut release sound like the filler off the latest Acacia Strain, Beneath the Massacre and a clutch of other superior bands. And that's never a good thing.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/xoceano

(article published 21/5/2009)


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